tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 18, 2012 8:00pm-1:00am EST
guidance. so, we will miss you sorely, as i just stated. but will you never be forgotten by those of us who had the privilege to serve with you. i hope and i pray that god will give you and your wife many, many more years of life and enjoyment because you have certainly earned it, because you have served not only the united states house of representatives, but you have served us, you have served the people of our districts as well as helping us be better members of congress. so with that i will close by asking god to please bless you and your family and may god continue to bless the house of representatives and jay pearson, you will be in our hearts until the day we die. god bless you. . mr. woodall: at this time, it's migrate pleasure to yield the gentleman from california, chairman of the ways and means health subcommittee, mr. herger.
mr. herger: i thank my good friend. how wonderful it is to be able to sit here and listen to all these incredibly warm remarks from people who, like myself, know and love jay pearson. and there's a reason for that. jay, you're one of the best of the best. and i think, it's hard to believe that 26 years comes and goes so very, very quickly, but it was 26 years ago when i first came here. and of course, you come here and you're excited and you come here with a dream, because of our great country and preserve our constitution, but, boy, there's a lot to learn. there's a lot of hall ways to figure out. there are a lot of procedures to try to figure out how to work
our way through. and jay, you were always there. you were there to a guy like myself that i could come up to on the q t and asked jay, what could do next? what is this vote on? when is the procedures coming up next? and no matter what the question, jay pearson had the correct answer in a way that even a freshman or one that was new learning could understand. and of course, also, we have something else in common. the pacific ocean, california. another californian like myself. but, jay, you have been such a friend, not just to my colleagues, but to me. and that says a lot about you
and there isn't any way to express our appreciation to you enough, but to say thank you, thank you, thank you. you have made my tenure here so much more successful and enjoyable, because i had someone there, kind of a shining star up there if i wasn't quite sure how to navigate myself around this floor, we could go to jay and you knew when it was coming up, estimate when we were going to vote the next time, so on and so forth. so jay, thank you. thank you for being a friend. a friend that each of us felt the same way i did, i thought, gee, i think i'm jay's best friend. you did treat each of us, because that's the way you are. so, jay, thank you.
and it's interesting, when we were both talking, i mentioned, i was retiring and you let me know you were retiring at the same time. so best of luck to you. thanks for serving this great nation of ours in the way that you have. thank you for assisting people like myself, and there's been hundreds, many hundreds of us that you have assisted over the years. and i should put that perhaps into thousands. we will be grateful. god bless you. god bless you and your family. i yield back. mr. woodall: at this time, it's my pleasure to yield to my friend from alabama, mr. aderholt. mr. aderholt: i thank the the gentleman from georgia for the time. one of our colleagues has played a critical role, a
behind-the-scenes role in the house of representatives. the man is jay pearson. as has been noted here, he has been a floor assistant to the top republicans since 1986, serving republican leader bob michael, newt gingrich, speaker hastert and john boehner and floor assistant as the general clerk for republican leader john rose and assist ant manager for the republican cloakroom. his experience has been invaluable to all of us who serve here in the house of representatives. jay is known for his vast knowledge of the rules, for his vast knowledge of the traditions and history and the procedures of the house of representatives. and he has been a teacher and a coach to so many members of the congress over the years and we're grateful to his dedication and that he has given this institution over the past 34
years. jay was born in santa barbara, california and graduated from westmont college. jay has a master's degree and pd in english literature. he and his wife have two grown sons, joel and jay. jay is a man of faith and he has his party in the right place. several years ago, he said politics must be secondary to faith and to life. ultimate answers don't lie in politic. no matter what we do or legislate, we won't solve the problems. the issues are incredibly complex. jay is someone who understands the importance of the legislative process, however, he also realizes that the ultimate answers are not found here. he and his wife have been active
members in their church and that's why i have gotten to know he and his wife over the years. i have found jay as the go-go guy when it comes to floor operations here on the house of representatives. he is someone who is dependable and someone if he doesn't know the answer, he can point you in the right direction where you can find the answer. 34 years is a long time to work in one institution, but i think his commitment after that 34 years tells you about his commitment in general and his dedication in general. all of us here in the house will miss jay, but having worked in this place for over 34 years, i hope he will be back to visit quite often. mr. speaker, we wish jay pearson all the best in the next chapter of his life and i yield back. mr. woodall: i thank the gentleman. at this time, it's migrate pleasure to yield to the
gentlelady from illinois, mrs. biggert. mrs. biggert: mr. speaker, i rise today to salute one of the hardest-working and longest-serving members on the house, jay pearson. jay is the face that i associate with the house floor. he keeps the debate moving and tells us where to go and when to vote and teaches new members the rules of the road. no one knows the procedures of the house better. he keeps it ticking ahead with the precision of a conductor and done it all with a steady, patient grace that has earned him the friendship and respect of everyone on this floor. i know everyone who works on or watches the house floor will miss jay's daily presence. he is institution and procedural wisdom that few if any could hope to match. i have served along side of him and thankful for him to get me
to the floor on time. like me, jay is looking forward to spend some quality time with his family and away from the daily grind of the legislative business and i wish him a long and happy retirement. and i would like to thank him for his long service and for being a reliable friend behind the scenes to so many members of the house. i yield back. mr. woodall: i thank the gentlelady. it's my pleasure to yield to a friend and metropolitanor, the gentleman from great state of georgia, dr. tom price. mr. price: i thank my colleague from georgia for the time as well as organizing this and i rise to join my colleagues in the praise of jay pearson. what a great guy. thoughtful, knowledgeable, calm, respectful, resourceful. whenever anyone needs anything to make this house run better,
jay is there. we are incredibly fortunate to have worked along side jay pearson, a man whose commitment to our country is unquestioned. and as he starts on a new journey and chapter in his life, we thank jay for his integrity and commitment to serving this house and our nation. may your days be filled with joy and with accomplishment. congratulations on your retirement. and god bless you. mr. woodall: i thank my friend from georgia, mr. speaker. at this time, it's my pleasure to yield to a colleague on the rules committee, the gentleman from utah, mr. bishop. mr. bishop: thank you. the gentleman from georgia, it's my pleasure to be here as part of this tribute to jay pearson and everything he has done. i met jay the first day the session and three of us came on the floor and was watching ms. wasserman schultz: taking
place. jay came over to us and said if you want to speak, we have seven minutes left. i was shocked at that time. can you imagine someone would come on the floor and speak without any preparation or without knowing any of the details of the bill. i have learned much since that time and much of what i have learned is by watching jay's protection of this institution, this floor, the procedures, the protocols and the orders that we have. he helped me out individually by introducing me and i had the opportunity of reading some books. i hope i have given them back. but in addition his book, he once wrote tradition means giving most to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. many are discriminated, tradition objects by the ideas that we have here are those that keep us going as a group.
he also wrote in that same book, if you free a camel from its hump, he is no longer a camel. i'm not saying that jay pearson is a hump. but my fear is once this institution is free of jay, we may not be the same institution that we were before. i want to give my appreciation for everything you have done for the house and for this country and i want you to know i'm taking you up on the offer to go through this building and learn some of the history that you know and need to know. thank you and good bless. mr. woodall: at this time, it's my pleasure to yield to a friend and colleague, the gentleman from iowa, mr. king. mr. king: i thank the gentleman from georgia for yielding and for leading this special order to honor jay pearson. i'm sitting here and i'm glad i had the opportunity to here other members to talk about jay pearson and i wonder how do i
make sense of this. 34 years. 34 years ago there was a lady that opened up a convenience store in a town in my district. she gave knowledge and if you want to though when a mayor ran or why there isn't a parking meter or stop light in the town, you could ask her and she would know. who is working in what field, she'll know. same thing here. one person who knows the house of representatives, that understands it, and knows the history, has lived it and one thing to catch up with things, but another to feel it in your instinct and in your gut. jay has all of that. and he has had to listen to me and for that i come to the floor and apologize night after night after night. i couldn't have done that without your excellent help. and mr. speaker, jay would correct me and say, i need to
address you, mr. speaker. i couldn't have done it without jay. i don't know if he has member rised every cell phone number, i just know he has member rised mine. i know, mr. speaker, when i'm off doing some of those things, family events, not only does jay know what is said on the floor and knows the procedure, amendments and the rules, but he understands the rhythm of the place and listens to all the words and he has the voices down, where, mr. speaker, he knows when a speaker is winding down, when he is about to finish up and hustle to the floor before the gavel falls. and he also knows when a person is going to go on for a while and you better listen, mr. speaker and when i thought i could push those limits when i got here a little late, i got here with just the right amount of time. that's the example in my little
ten your here of how all of these members of congress have benefited so much from 34 years, with the knowledge and irreplaceable knowledge and spirit here. and i congratulate jay pearson for that career here in the house of representatives. the impression he has made on all of us and his great respect for this great institution. god bless you, jay. god speed. mr. woodall: at this time, it's my privilege to yield to the gentleman from texas, mr. olson
mr. olson: i want to thank my colleague from georgia for taking a leadership role in hosting this special order to thank our friend, jay pearson. for 34 years of service to the house. in a prior life, i was a united states naval aviator. in that job, i had a wing man, someone who was right behind you, protecting you from threats you can't see. a wing man is always checking your six, the spot directly behind. his job is not about him. it's about making sure i complete my mission. for the four years i've been in congress, my wingman on the floor has been jay pearson. it started out with simple jobs, like showing me where the restrooms were. it grew to much more important jobs like advicing me on floor procedure. -- advising me on floor procedure and giving me accurate information about the floor schedule so my wife and
kids would know when daddy was coming home. i realize what a great wingman jay was about two weeks ago. i said right here on this floor, paying tribute to a fellow texan, ralph hall. i was flying solo without my wingman, jay pearson. i had this poster with me and six others. you see a post-it note on it that says, olson. every poster i had had a post-it on it that said olson. without my wingman, i took off with a flawed presentation. i didn't crash and burn but i got some flack from my staff for my ineptitude. in 2013 i'll be flying solo without jay. i miss my wingman but i'm
thankful for the four years i've had with him. as we say in the navy, jay, well done. may you and your family have fair wind and good seas. i yield back. mr. woodall: i thank the gentleman. mr. speaker, at this time it's my great pleasure to yield to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. thompson. mr. thompson: i thank the gentleman from georgia for hosting this hour. and an opportunity to recognize and thank a good friend, jay pearson, who started his work in the u.s. house of representatives in 1978, in the office of the general clerk under then majority leader john rhodes. where he learned the intricacies of the house and legislative procedures while keeping official minutes in this chamber. in 1979 he began working in the republican cloakroom where he remained for seven years before beginning a new position as floor assistance it -- floor assistant to the republican leader in 1986. since then jay has served as
floor assistant to three speakers of the house, including newt gingrich, dennis hastert and the current speaker, john boehner. the career that has spanned over 35 years, jay has served as an invaluable role for so many members in helping them to learn the ways of the u.s. house of representatives. i'm proud to be among those who have benefited from jay's service and friendship and leadership. but jay isn't just known for his expertise in parliamentary procedure. he's known to be an individual of substance and distinct professionalism. in fact, i personally would say he's the embodiment of a professional which is why he is respected by members of both sides of the aisle. you wouldn't know if you saw him in action, but jay never expected to work in politics. he earned a b.a. in english literature from westmont college, an m.a. in english literature and a ph.d. from the university of maryland. but life works in mysterious ways. rarledless, u.s. house of repive -- regardless, the u.s. house of representatives has been blessed to have him.
thank you, jay pearson, for your life of service to the u.s. congress. this body and all of its members wish you well in your retirement. and i yield back. mr. woodall: i thank the gentleman. mr. speaker, at this time i know there are so many members who could not be here tonight and wanted to be here. i'd like to ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the subject of this special order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. woodall: mr. speaker, so often in this town they say everything's been said but not everyone has said it. that's not the case here with member after member after member talking about dr. jay pearson. the gentleman from california had it right. everybody on this floor thinks they're jay's best friend. everybody on this floor feels that personal relationship and personal bond yet everyone who has come to this floor tonight has taught me something new about jay that i did not know. when i first got to this
chamber, mr. speaker, two years ago, i was a little nervous. it's an intimidating job, to walk out on the house floor for the very first time, and my mentor and friend, former congressman john linder, came to me and he said, rob, if you get worried, if you get into trouble, don't worry, jay will be there. and i think about how in one way or another, over 34 years, how many young, frightened, yet enthusiastic public servants have been comforted with those words, don't worry, if you get into trouble jay pearson will be there. this new incoming freshmen class is going to miss those comforting words and this incoming freshmen class, along with 435 of the rest of us, are going to miss jay pearson. i want to thank dr. pearson, mr. speaker, for his long, diligent, but most importantly
cheerful service. it is an example that we could all learn from and i hope that we do. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mr. garamendi: i thank you, mr. speaker, and i ask unanimous consent that the record remain open for five days for additions. the speaker pro tempore: without objection.
mr. garamendi: on the subject of tonight's special order. before i get into the issues that i want to talk about, i want to also reach out to jay. since nobody from this side of the aisle has yet spoken, i'd like to do so. about three years ago i started doing special order hours and always jay would come up to me during the floor session and ask me what we had planned and share with me the republican plans for the special order hour. and we'd work it out, when you take -- will you take the floor hour, yes or no? probably 40 minutes, maybe less, so we would have a smooth transition from republican special order hour to the democrat or the other way around, democrat to republican. it's been a great pleasure to work with you, jay, you do a great job here. i could echo everything that's been said but i really don't know all of the intricacies on your side. but i do know that when they involve our side of the aisle,
you're there to make it a smooth transition, to make it work. it's a pleasure working with you. i now miss you, along with every other member of this house. so god speed and best wishes to you on your retirement. thank you very much, jay. many, many things have happened over the last several days. we've got the fiscal cliff, but we've also had the -- not only the retirement of very special people in the lives of the house of representatives in the senate, but also the death of -- the recent death of senator inouye. it marks the passage of the generation that fought in world war ii. i've asked -- i've been asked, and i'll gladly yield whatever time our colleague, ms. hanabusa of hawaii, would like to take in memory of the
extraordinary senator. i had the pleasure of working with him in the mid 1990's when i was the deputy secretary of the department of interior, we were working on the native hawaiian lands issues. he was a remarkable individual, one that not only understood the intricacies of that very complex situation, but also had enormous passion for the native hawaiians. and so tonight i yield whatever time she might want to take to our colleague from the great state of washington -- hawaii. ms. hanabusa: thank you very much to the gentleman from california. i'm here to honor a state which is unique and as special as the person i honor. the person i rise to honor is daniel k. inouye. a person who cannot be
described by a single adjective. a person whose accomplishments would cause you to pause and say, is this one person? is this one man? a person was awarded the greatest honor anyone who serves in the military can achieve, the congressional medal of honor. but it was an honor about 55 years late. from a country that questioned his loyalty due to the fact that he was an american of japanese ancestry. a person who could not get a hair cut after being severely wounded and giving -- and given his arm in battle because he looked like the enemy. a person who insisted that instead of being bitter he would dedicate his life to doing all he can to right social inequities and description of all kinds --
discrimination of all kinds. to do this he became part of the democratic revolution that took control of hawaii's territorial legislature. remember, back then hawaii was run by the plantation bosses and it was the democratic revolution that shifted the power base. he's also a person who served his territorial government, his state and his nation. for a period of time just short of 60 years. a person who came to congress and was recognized for his -- by his peers to serve as the chair of various committees, the most recent, the senate appropriations committee, along with being president pro temp and on the historic investigations committees like watergate and iran contra. imagine, mr. speaker, what he has seen. imagine more so what brilliance
and skills he possessed to serve so effectively for all these years. he has left such a mark on hawaii. hawaii is the home of the pacific man. there is no question in my mind that the pivot to asia-pacific is possible because of his vision, a vision shared by the president. a vision which is made possible by senator's strong commitments to entities and his placement of the pacific tsunami warning center in hawaii so the whole pacific benefitless. hawaii's military importance goes without saying. as the investments made to pearl harbor, the pacific missile range facility, paycom, scofield, the marine corps, just to name a few. all part of his plan on how to stabilize hawaii's economy and
this nation and the world. senator recognizes a future for hawaii is getting off of our dependence on fossil fuels. a conversation by the way that we had at the last delegation meeting which he chaired and he made it very clear that this was his priority. he was, as you can expect, already ahead of everyone because he had been funding research and development in this area for years. he also knew that education was critical to our success and insisted in ensuring the university of hawaii to be the land, sea and space grant institution that it is. one of the few institutions that has all three designations. but the person i will miss the most is the man who always said, just call me dad, to whomever he met. it didn't matter who it was.
it was, just call me dad. the person who shared stories about the values he was raised with, which i think was his way of giving us a glimpse of what he was made of. at his 88th birthday party, 88 is a very significant birthday, especially among the japanese community, he shared the story of his father and a carp, yes, the fish, carp. . his father said fight as hard as the carp did, but when you die, you die with dignity. the senator did exactly that, but then, you would expect nothing less from the person which no one word can describe. a person who did not want a building named after him. he just wanted to be remembered
as someone who represented the people of hawaii honestly and to the best of his ability. and when asked for his assessment of how he did, he just basically said, i think i did ok. senator, if what you did is just ok, the rest of us are failing, because not one of us can measure up to your standard of ok. mr. speaker, you have no idea how we in hawaii are so anxious because we do not know how to make up for our loss. we will not have him, senator inouye, to rely upon, to make things ok. senator said aloha as his last words. we say the same to you, senator, and to irene, tim and maggie, for sharing you with us.
thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. garamendi: the eulogy that was just given is most appropriate. there are men and women of extraordinary talent that have served in this capitol and certainly senator inouye fits that. there is also a fiscal cliff out there. and i know the senator was working diligently on that before his last days. and here, too, in the house of representatives, we also should be working diligently on that. it seems as though we aren't making as much progress as we should. we have about 10 days now -- i guess it's 12, 13 days before we go to january 3.
so it's 16 days before the fiscal cliff actually occurs. between now and then, we have a great challenge. we have the well-being of this nation, the world's strongest and in many, many ways, the world's greatest nation. doesn't really hang in the balance, but its well-being in the years ahead will be largely determined by how well we address this challenge of the fiscal cliff. it's the deficit. will we be able to put in place a solid plan where over the course of perhaps a decade, addresses the deficit, brings it under control and begins to reduce it. i know we can. we did it before. we did it in the 1990's, when president clinton made a proposal that would raise taxes and reduce expenditures and led
during that period of time, a surplus, a surplus that was altered when the george w. bush administration came in and started two wars and enormous tax cuts at the same time and led to a deficit that was extraordinarily increased as the great recession took place in 2008. we need to turn that around. president obama has made a very solid set of proposals during the course of the campaign, one in which taxes for those whose adjusted gross income for a couple would go over $250,000 of adjusted gross income. income below that would have reductions. and he made proposals to reduce expenditures. those are now being negotiated in a back and forth between
speaker boehner and the president. he also made some very important proposals to grow the economy, significant investments in infrastructure, significant investments in research, in education, in the fundamental investments that create ongoing growth in the economy. not sure how this is going to work out. but here on the democratic side of the aisle, we have some principles that we want to lay down. and tonight, we'll discuss those principles. we've done this before. we have talked about medicare and social security. we have talked about laying down the investments. joining me tonight will be my colleagues from around this nation. i want to start with jason altmire, who has talked to these issues many times and wants to present to us our view as democrats. jason, if you would take the
floor and speak to these issues. mr. altmire: i thank the gentleman from california for his continued leadership in bringing these discussions to the american people and i look forward to hearing from my friend from new york and what he has to say. we have talked about time and again about the importance of what we are trying to accomplish in this house in protecting the medicare program. i represent a district that has 135,000 medicare beneficiaries. it's actually the fourth most medicare beneficiaries of any congressional district in the country. so the people that i represent have a strong interest, as does every member of this house in making sure that medicare is preserved, it's protected and strengthened and it's always going to be be there, not just for the 135,000 beneficiaries that participate in the medicare program today, but for generations to come. and we aren't going to stand here as democrats or republicans
or any political affiliation and say that everything is working perfectly and nothing needs to be altered. the fact is with regard to medicare that 1/3 of the people who qualify for medicare, 1/3 of the people who qualify for medicare today use every penny that they have paid into the system over the course of their entire lifetime within the first year of qualifying for medicare, because they have extremely high health care costs. that is something we need to address. but you don't address that issue by slashing the program, by gutting medicare, by taking advantage of those same people that we're trying to help. and the fiscal cliff that we're talking about is therefore a reason, because congress had the inability to come to an agreement on long-term fiscally responsible policies so we put this deadline in place, 16 days
from today, where we have the situation where all of the so-called bush tax cuts which were extended under president obama, the rates expire at every level, not just that top bracket that we are talking about in the house, and i do support making sure that that top bracket reverts back to where it was during the clinton administration where wherever we can negotiate for that group of people, but in doing so, we can't allow that same bracket for all of the taxpayers in the country to revert back, because, for example, the lowest income bracket, currently 10%, the people who are working hard and playing by the rules, working americans working every day for their family, that bracket would go back up to 15%, a 50% tax increase for the people who can least afford it if we do nothing. and everyone in between would see their tax rates go up.
while we continue to have the debate and discussion about what happens to that top bracket, we have to understand that all of those income brackets go up. the alternative minimum tax, the capital gains rate, the child income tax credit, the making work pay tax credit that was put into place a few years ago, all of these things either go away or revert back to a much higher level than they were before. that goes along with the cuts we are talking about. the draconian across-the-board cuts that were put into place, because they were so ominous. they make such devastating cuts in programs that congress along with the bush tax cuts expiring would in no way allow that to happen at the same time. that's what the fiscal cliff is. both sides, the spending and the revenue situation.
and with regard to medicare, that can't be allowed to be swept up in the hysteria that we're facing here in this congress. we're going to talk about this more, but that's the crux of the discussion. we are going to talk about tax rates and talk about infrastructure spending and the other investments we can make as a nation in the future of the country, but in doing so, we can't allow the most vulnerable in this country, 135,000 of them live in my district, beneficiaries of medicare and the generations to come, we can't allow them to be the ones to pick up the bill for the decisions that are made here in haste. mr. garamendi: thanks for moving this discussion along. i have used this poster before when we were discussing the republican budget that did pass this house that would end
medicare as we know it. and that was just a way of doing it with vouchers or what they call premium support. either way, medicare as a guarantee of health care for those people who are 65 and over would be over. there are other ways that medicare can be whittled away, weakened to the point where it could simply die of mall nutrition. and we want -- malnutrition and we want to be certain this doesn't happen and this never comes to pass. it was 1965 that president johnson signed medicare into existence and we aren't going to let it end in 2011, 2012 and beyond. i recall so vividly, an experience as a child, probably, i don't know, 10, 12 years old,
my father took me to the county hospital, which is where the elderly went to die. there wasn't medicare then. it didn't exist. more than half of the seniors were in poverty. there was no health care available. no insurance company would insure the elderly. it was expensive. there was literally no way they would be able to get health care, except at the county hospital. a ward, strung out -- i don't know, as far as my eye could see. the stench was unbelievable. the moaning and crying that was going on, unbelievable. 1965, america took the step to become a compassion nature nation where we would take care of the elderly. proposals that have been talked about, the republican budget basically terminating medicare or whittling away at it,
increasing the eligibility age from 65 to 67, what is a person to do when they are 65 and cannot get private insurance and at the same time they want to do away with the opportunity that exists in the affordable health care act for an exchange that could possibly provide the insurance. they want to do away with that. come on. this is america. this is where we take caref the elderly and provide the services. medicare can be dealt with. we can deal with the inflation in medicare and in the affordable care act, many things were done to start on that process. for example, keeping seniors healthy, providing for the annual medical checkup, making sure they had the drug benefits, making sure that part d was
available to all seniors, closing the doughnut hole in the medicare part d drug benefit. electronic medical records. infection rates in hospitals being reduced. i'm going to take two seconds to show you what has happened as a result of the affordable health care act and other measures. the inflation rate in medicare has been dramatically reduced since the affordable health care act, obamacare, went into effect. it is down in the 2%, 2.5% range now and has remained there since obamacare has gone into effect. the changes that were in obamacare extended the financial viability of medicare by eight years. and here's the effect. the inflation rate is now less
than the general health care inflation rate and this has caused a recalculation of the deficit in the years ahead. the deficit in the years ahead was based on an inflation rate up here in the 5% range. but when it's down in the 2% range, the deficit that has been reduced by over $200 billion simply because medicare is not inflating, growing as fast as anticipated back 2 1/2 years ago. more can be done. without taking away one benefit from seniors. the federal government could negotiate drug prices, bringing down the costs. the federal government could institute better payment mechanisms so there is a continuity of care rather than a
one-off episodic care for seniors. in some doing, seniors stay healthy longer and the costs reduced. there are many other things. but let me be very clear about this. if there is an effort to throw seniors who become 65 off of medicare by denying them the opportunity, we will see an increase in the total costs of health care in the united states because those seniors will not be able to get quality medical care. they will become sick and will wind up somewhere in the system, perhaps in an emergency room, somewhere in a hospital, and the total cost of the system will go up. but if you keep seniors on medicare, when they become 65, they'll have access to quality care, better health care and with the changes that were in the affordable health care act, orko, they will be healthier, longer and the cost of care will
be reduced for all of us in the health care system. . . we ought to talk about jobs for a while. we were on this floor a few weeks ago and we spent some time talking about infrastructure. about jobs. and our colleague from the state of new york, that is the western side of new york, is joining us tonight to pick up that issue once again. mr. higgins: i want to thank the gentleman from -- the gentlemen for their leadership on this issue. as we know there's a debate going on here about the fiscal cliff and i think the american people are looking for leadership in washington. they want to plan, i think they're willing to endure some pain that will be in the form of spending cuts and perhaps
some increased revenues. but the american people also want a plan that's going to bes a separational. in -- that will be aspirational. the infrastructure in our nation is falling apart. according to the american society for civil engineers, they give us a d grade for the quality of our infrastructure. they tell us that $2.2 trillion is needed just to bring our current infrastructure to a state of good repair. that's not even taking into consideration new infrastructure needs that were seen in new york and new jersey as a result of the storms that existed there. infrastructure investment is also a job creator. a creator of american jobs. when you invest in infrastructure you're buying labor from american businesses. when you invest in infrastructure you're buying equipment from american businesses. now, with public infrastructure, it's as old as
lynn con. he called it -- lincoln. he called it land improvements. he meant ports and railroads at the time. public infrastructure is always the public's responsibility. so the question is never whether or not you're going to do it, you have to do it. the question is when does it make most sense? i would submit to you that it makes most sense today. why? because money is as cheap as it's ever going to be. every municipal government throughout this country borrows money by issuing debt bonds to underwrite the cost of building new frals. we -- infrastructure. we could be borrowing money today for about 1%. labor is cheap, equipment is cheap, because both are idling. and we clearly need the infrastructure investment. final thought on this? transportation for america, a not-for-profit organization, identifies 69,000 structurally
deficient bridges in this nation. there's over 2,000 structurally deficient bridges in my state of new york. and in western new york we have 99 structurally deficient bridges. every second of every day seven cars drive on a bridge that is structurally deficient. we saw a bridge collapse in new york state in 1987, loss of life and significant injury. we saw it again, subsequent to that, in minneapolis. how many more bridges have to collapse before we address this need? we're going to spend less than $53 billion rebuilding the roads and bridges of america next year. less than $53 billion. it's weak and it's pathetically weak. when you consider we spent $89 billion rebuilding the roads and bridges of afghanistan. we just spent $67 billion rebuilding the roads and bridges of iraq. work needs to be done in and
americans need the work -- done and americans need the work. with that i yield back to my friend from california. mr. garamendi: let's continue this discussion of infrastructure. the last time we took this up, three weeks ago, we had talked about an infrastructure bank. a proposal that's been presented to the house of representatives now for at least 15 years, i believe our colleague from connecticut, rosa delauro, has introduced that bill year after year. you said that the federal government can borrow money, 10-year notes, even 15-year notes, somewhere around 1.5%, maybe toward 2%. if we were to borrow that, put it into an infrastructure bank and then loan money to infrastructure projects that have a cash flow, sanitation facility, water facility, toll bridges and numerous other kinds of infrastructure, which is desperately needed, we could have a financing system that over time would actually make
money for the federal government. could borrow at 1.5%, loan at 1.75%, have a margin there, the money would flow back in. you'd get that revolving. the president has actually proposed this in his american jobs act. he's picked this up during his debate, the fiscal cliff negotiations, put it back on the table. we ought to be doing that. in doing so we will create tens of thousands, indeed hundreds of thousands of american jobs. american jobs. and if we couple that with buy american so that the equipment, the steel, the concrete, the other ingredients used in these infrastructure projects were american-made, using our tax money for american-made equipment, we would even see a resurgence of the manufacturing base in america. this is a no-brainer. this is something we ought to have done years ago but here as
we approach this fiscal cliff we ought to take up the president's challenge, move forward with an infrastructure bank and create jobs in america and build the foundation for economic growth. mr. altmire, why don't you pick this piece up and carry it. mr. altmire: i wanted to supplement my friend from new york's comments about the structurally deficient bridges. when i would have town hall meetings and i'd talk with my constituents about this issue, i always use the example, because people think, you know, there's better ways to spend money, we're overspending ourselves, we're in great debt. let's just not do anything this year, let's wait until next year, maybe let's wait until the year after that. and i always use the example of there are certain things that you can put off and if you're a family, you might say, times are tough, we need to tighten our belt, maybe i can't go to the movies tonight. maybe i'm going to have chicken instead of steak. maybe we're going to have to drive a certain type of car instead of the luxury vehicle
that we were hoping to buy. whatever it might be, whatever the family circumstance. however, no matter what type of house you live in, large or small, if you get a leak in the roof, you have to fix it. because if you ignore that leak it's not going to fix itself, it's not going to remain where it is today, it's going to be worse tomorrow and it's going to be worse next week, until the roof collapses and you have a catastrophe on your hand. well, that's the state of our infrastructure in this country. and i think people get that. and the gentleman talked about the state of new york and the structurally deficient bridges that he has in western new york. well, in 2007 i was here, i know the gentleman from new york was here, when we had the terrible disaster in minnesota, when the interstate bridge collapsed. and the loss of life that occurred. and the secretary of transportation at the time came to the transportation committee, i believe the gentleman serves on the transportation committee at that time, also.
and secretary peters came and talked about the state of disrepair of our nation's bridges. now, we can talk about locks and dams and our aviation system and the state of our airports and a variety of other infrastructure needs in this country, which are just as critical, but just roads and bridges, we were all given a list of the structurally deficient bridges in our districts and our states. and i'm embarrassed to say to the gentleman, pennsylvania's in even worse shape than what he described new york to be. we in pennsylvania have 6,000 structurally deficient bridges. in western pennsylvania it's 1,000 and in just the district i represent, currently one out of 19 districts in pennsylvania , just in my district, 300 structurally deficient bridges. and the structural sufficiency rating, as my colleagues understand, mr. speaker, are based upon a zero to 100 scale.
100 being brand new, sturdy, it's good as and strong as they can possibly be, zero being the bottom. well, i had several bridges on the list that the secretary gave me that were single digits. i had one that was a two, believe it or not. and i remember asking the question in the hearing, i'm not an engineer, i've never been that great at math, but it seems to me if you have a bridge that's a two on a zero to 100 scale, that doesn't sound very good. and should i as a driver or any of my constituents be concerned when they drive across that bridge? what would be the recommendation from the department of transportation? and the response that i got after they conferred on how to address this question, they literally said, well, not if you drive across it once. but if that's your daily commute and you drive across that bridge twice a day every day, you might want to find a different route.
well, mr. speaker, that is not a good answer. but unfortunately that's the right answer. and, you know, at minimum we should alert the public to the state of disrepair that our bridges are in so they can make intelligent and informed decisions but in the long-term, the clear remedy to that solution, the solution is to invest in our infrastructure, to fix our roads and bridges. because, yes, it puts people back to work, which is critically important. the business impact, we transport goods all over the country by truck and by rail. we can talk about the state of disrepair in other transportation sectors, too. but we benefit as a country, but when you see the safety consequences and you think about the fact that we have bridges all across this country that are in such disrepair that they are in the single digits in structural sufficiency, that is a big problem and that's why we need to invest in our infrastructure. and i would yield back to the gentleman. mr. garamendi: indeed we do need to invest in
infrastructure and we need to rebuild. i know -- notice another colleague from the great state of new york has joined us. often mr. tonko and i are here on the floor in what we call the east-west show. but, mr. higgins and mr. tonko, your state and the state of new jersey got whacked by a superstorm. mr. tonko: yes, it did. mr. garamendi: why don't you share with us a little bit of what the state of new york needs to do on infrastructure repair and how to prevent it from happening again. mr. tonko: sure. absolutely. you know, the impact of sandy, representative garamendi, comes on the heels of last year's storm with irene and lee. a double whammy. that impacted several counties that i represent. and upstate new york was devastated. it was the loss of life, of lives. there was destruction to the public infrastructure, many businesses, farms and housing
were destroyed. tremendously so. and the need to rebuild became very apparent. this year with sandy, the same sort of impact, this time in a very densely populated region of new york city, long island, and the southern portions of new york state. and so i think it's a stark reminder, a very real example, a very painful outcome that speaks to the need of investing, investing in our infrastructure. and so as we go forward there's also an opportunity to improve upon what existed at the time of these storms. for instance, in the energy networks, utility networks, we can do state of the art. we have taught other nations how to build those systems. it's time to do nation building at home. and i think the beauty here is that while we invest in transportation and other
infrastructure, energy infrastructure and water systems and treatment centers and treatment systems and public schools, what we're doing is rippling into the benefits of efficiency, of public safety, of employment and economic development. that is a positive series of dynamics that then lifts the economy and provides for work. 90% of the jobs, it's projected, that come from this sort of infrastructure investment are speaking to middle income households. jobs that again provide for the strengthening of our economy, the reduction of our deficit, the confidence-building in our economy that is so powerfully felt as we walk this distance from the recession, as we continue to do the steady climb upward, as we grow private sector jobs. this is an important part of it. it enhances our productivity, it provides for efficiencies.
that's what infrastructure investment is about. ment it's calculated that for every $1 billion invested, 18 million jobs are created and a sound system is built so we can go forward with the anticipation of a stronger tomorrow for our economy. so i think these are important elements, rebuilding after mother nature has impacted us with very profound damages to our communities and building in a way that allows for the creation of jobs and an improved outcome to top it off. you know, when the representative from pennsylvania, representative altmire, talked about the minnesota situation, i served in the state assembly in new york when the collapse of a
two-way bridge in upstate new york took 10 lives. we recently commemorated the 25th anniversary of that event back in 1987 and the painful consequences that came to bear on that upstate region where commerce was affected, where jobs were affected, where public safety was compounded, they took the major artery of the state of new york, the throughway and had to reroute that through a community by establishing a makeshift system and just the presence of that moment on to the economic consequences of the state spoke painfully of how important infrastructure is. so we look at the needs of this nation, from coast to coast, from your west coast to our east coast and we understand that there are needs for those water treatment facilities, for our energy infrastructure.
we're wheeling electronning along a system that was designed for regional service and now we're going from nation to nation, canada into the united states. we need an upgrade. we need the r&d component that translate into jobs that provides the best investment possible and that's what we're calling for here. the sound stewardship of resources. federal tax dollars being utilized in a way that provides the strongest outcome, sometimes in the saga of urgency as is the case in new york state, as it's been with irene and lee. as we continue to recover over a year later from those storms that damaged upstate new york just over a year ago and the most recent element of consequence that came with hurricane sandy. i thank you for bringing us together to shed light to
acknowledge that we can create jobs as we address public safety, as we address efficient circumstance as we address productivity, as we address economic boosts so we can walk from this arena here in this house of representatives knowing that we're doing the sound academically driven, analytically provided results that will speak to a favorable impact across the board. so thank you for bringing us together. mr. garamendi: thank you, mr. tonko. mr. higgins, i see you'd like to get into this also. please pick up this conversation and carry it on. mr. higgins: i just wanted to -- my colleague from new york is very familiar with all the issues we're confronted with but we also recognize that our governor had the presence of mind in putting the package together for federal relief, for reimbursement, to seek infrastructure money to rebuild
the infrastructure that was destroyed in a way that would mitt gate or reduce the damage to a future storm because here's what we know with global warming. storms are becoming much more severe and whether it's new orleans or new york, we are going to see another storm. and it also underscores the need for infrastructure investment to mitigate the damage because by making that upfront investment, the mitigation factors will reduce the amount of damage when the next storm hits, if in fact our nation can meet the challenge of rebuilding our infrastructure in the way it ought to be built. mr. garamendi: i thank you very much for bringing that up. it's not only an issue on the east coast, it's an issue in the midwest, it's an issue in the west, it's an issue across this nation. the climate is change, the storms are more severe and
likely to continue to be more severe in the future. for me, my district is 00 nifles sacramento river, the second most city at risk of flooding in the united states after new orleans is sacramento. certain portions along the american river and sacramento are in extraordinarily dangerous territory. we need to rebuild our levees. we need to upgrate our levees. we should not wait until they break and then try to deal with the death and destruction and the rebuilding that then occurs but do exactly what you said, mr. higgins, anticipate the next storm. build ahead of it. protect ourselves ahead of it. i have some 1,500 to 2,000 miles of flood levees in my district. we need serious infrastructure improvement. just this last week, friday, i was with the ewe ba city area in sutter county, 40 miles of
levee need to be upgrade and improved. we need action by the federal government, the army corps of engineers needs to issue their 408 permit in a big hurry so we can begin the construction of the improvements of those levees. that's not unusual across this nation because many other parts of this nation including the rebuilding of new york and new jersey, to build higher standards. not just repair what was damaged but to build to a higher standard. that takes money. this is where the federal government has a critical role to play. we need to make that money available in some cases there are repayment systems. we talked about that with an infrastructure bank. in other cases there are not. and the local governments together with the state and federal governments come together and build those systems. but the federal government has to step forward as the major partner in all of these and if we do it in a way that uses the
money to buy american made equipment and supplies, we can create even more jobs in america, part of the make it in america agenda we have been promoting now for more than two years is just that. you use that money to buy american-made equipment and you rebuild the american manufacturing base at the same time that you build the infrastructure. mr. altmire, you stood up with enthusiasm while i was speaking so what do you have here? mr. altmire: i wasn't sure if the gentleman was planning to transition into another topic as he draws to a close. mr. garamendi: we need to do that, so let's wrap up infrastructure and we want to talk about social security and perhaps going back to where we started on medicare and these programs. mr. amount mire: very quickly and i'll yield to -- yield to mr. tonko directly if that's ok afterwards. i want to bring to the attention of my colleagues and
the american people, we're talking about what can happen if you ignore infrastructure needs. we're talking about past examples and the potential for future examples of infrastructure problems across the country. yes, it's an investment that we need to make, our roads and bridges, our locks and dams, our rail system, our aviation system, our waterways, commerce, hundreds of billions of dollars of need. but we're also trying to emain internationally competitive. and we can't be internationally competitive if we have substandard infrastructure. that doesn't just mean instra -- infrastructure that's in disrepair. i know as one example, i visited the port of miami a year or two ago. they're undergoing a multibillion dollar front redredge the port, one of the largest ports in the united states to accommodate the larger ships. that are going to be able to come through the panama canal when the panama canal project
is completed. if we done do that in this country, if we don't continue to modernize and upgrade our infrastructure, not just prevent disasters from occurring, economically and through the physics of infrastructure disrepair, but upgrade and mod erpize our port system, and our aviation system, to be able to continue to compete internationally with the other countries who have modernized their port infrastructure, we're going to continue to fall behind and lose jobs and lose the economic impact. that's what we have to consider when we discuss the fiscal cliff as we started this discussion. with that said, i would yield to my good friend mr. tonko. mr. tonko: just briefly, the opportunity to invest in infrastructure, for example, our water treatment facilities, when i was at my last work station, prior to entering the house, it was with the new york state energy research and development authority. there i witnessed these
consummate professionals working away at retrofitting systems or designing new that dealt with water treatments and the savings that were anticipated that were measured in some cases were significant. so that the energy costs for local government doing their role, performing their role for treatment of water became much cheaper. and that -- those are safings that are recurring. so while we invest in this opportunity, we're also chipping away at those budget costs into the future. the same is true, of some of the research investment that found us, for example, capturing waste heat and get manager bang for the buck sort of -- so to speak of the investments made in energy systems. the american intellect, which has always served as our d.n.a. for discovery, we are proud of our pioneer spirit in this
nation, it drove an industrial revolution, it inspired a westward movement and it created from milltown capacity, the epicenters of innovation. we have that within our core spirit and if we can't come up with the innovative ideas, the concepts that allow us to serve the taxpayer with more useful jut comes of their investments, it is beholden upon us to provide the climate by which to do that. earlier, my -- our colleague, representative higgins from new york, spoke of the mitigation opportunities now facing new york with its repair of infrastructure. if we can do the preventive measures that provide for longer life expectancy for these investments, isn't that not only the wise thing to do, isn't that the responsible thing to do? so there are ways we can move
forward in a transitional sort of format where it's ever impacting to a favorable outcome of operating costs into the future, of research investments and translating job creation and the infrahaveture build that takes the mind, the con setchts, the intellectual capacity of this nation an also speaks to the wisdom of responding to infrastructure repair, replacement, new construction, that looks statistically at the data that are collected that speak to the impacts of global warming and climate change. if we were to, for instance, rebuild exactly as the infrastructure in my upstate district after the impacts of these storms, it would be foolish. we need to adjust the span length, we need to adjust the height of this infrastructure so we -- so it is accounting for the dynamics of change that are real, that are recorded, that are statistically valid
and we need to do that in a way that brings this investment into the job creation zone that it is as we stated earlier as i made mention earlier, for every $1 billion of investment in infrastructure, we can anticipate rightfully 18,000 jobs being created, 90% of which are finding their way into the middle income community. this is what it's about. it's not about this cost cutting frenzy that denies opportunity, denies our responsibility that we all bear here but rather inspires us to belt tighten, where we get rid of outmoded programs and where we most effectively invest in the improvements, the reparis they are replacement that are under our stewardship. mr. garamendi: thank you, mr. tonko. once again we have a challenge ahead of us. mr. higgins, i know this has
been one of your principal issues here in the house of representatives. if you'd like to rap up on this piece of our discussion tonight on the infrastructure piece and then we'll take the final 10 to 15 minutes and pick up back to the medicare and social security issues that are also very much part of what is on the table today as we address the fiscal cliff, growing the economy and jobs. mr. higgins: i thank the gentleman. at the outset mitigating circumstance colleague from california, great leader on this issue, had said that it was 12 years ago when we hit a budgetary surplus of $258 billion. how was that created? it was created by having created 22 million private sector jobs in the previous eight years. . telling us the best tax policy is bringing it back. the contribution to the federal treasury that allows us to make the investments to nation build
right at home. it's one thing here that democrats and republicans were able to agree on is infrastructure investment. and i think the need is extraordinarily great right now a we should do an infrastructure bill that is robust and as pierational in addressing the infrastructure needs and as soon as possible. final thought, there is a report out of the state of nevada that says if you deaver infrastructure repair for two years, you increase the cost of making that repair by a factor of five. so $5 million bridge repair that could be done today, two years from now will cost you $25 million. a $1 million road repair today will cost you $5 million two years from now. we need to get to work and much
work needs to be done. mr. garamendi: you are absolutely correct that if we are to deal with the deficit, we have to put americans back to work. and the infrastructure has over the years been a principal way in which you employ americans. we did this with the stimulus bill and it had great effect, but also built the foundation for tomorrow's economic growth and protects people along the way, protects property, protects valuable assets that we have in our nation. the president has been very clear about this for more than 15 months now. 15 months ago, he put before congress, the american jobs act, of which one element was the infrastructure he wanted an additional $50 billion over and above the $53 billion that you described earlier as the ongoing infrastructure. our colleagues -- we talked
earlier, i think, mr. higgins, you raised this issue and mr. tonko did also. thursday, two days from now, we are going to take up the national defense authorization act, which is the plan for our national security, the military. in that piece of legislation, there is a minimum of $88 billion to be spent between october, 2012, and september 3 0 of 20 -- 30, 2013, on the afghanistan war. $88 billion. that's a lot of money. all that we're talking about in this cut discussion that's under way between the president and mr. boehner is somewhere, $400
billion, maybe $500 billion. $88 billion in afghanistan next year. a good portion of that is for infrastructure in afghanistan as we discussed earlier today. we ought to make decisions here. and part of those decisions that are on the table today are very serious cuts in the medicare program. i discussed earlier, the medicare eligibility age has been proposed by the speaker of the house on the republican side to be increased from 65 to 67 years. would have a disastrous effect on those who have paid into medicare their entire working lives and expect to be able to have that health care benefit available to them when they become 65. it will not save much money, but it will surely harm thousands
upon thousands of americans. similarly, suggestions have been made to dramatically alter social security. suggestions that will significantly harm vast number of americans, perhaps -- i don't know the numbers -- probably 20 million americans, who are currently obtaining social security benefits, but will not see the adjustment for inflation . these are people that are making less than -- that are receiving less than $1,500 a month for social security and for many of them, that is their total source of income. mr. altmire, you have been a person who knows the statistics here and knows the numbers. i speak more from my heart rather than the precise numbers.
i think the starting point comes from the compassion that we should all possess for seniors, but the facts also need to be understood here. one fact should be clear to all 435 members in this house, and that is that the deficit that we are facing and all the discussion about the deficit and the fiscal cliff is not a social security problem. it is not a social security problem. it is a tax revenueish -- revenue issue. it is an issue for medicare, which we can solve without cutting benefits. it is an issue for the military, the war in iraq, the $88 billion we are going to spend there in the next nine months. those are real issues about the deficit.
social security does not contribute one nickel, one penny to the deficit. it is a trust fund apart from this deficit issue. it has its own source of revenue. and we ought not be harming seniors while we are giving continuing tax breaks to people who are making lots of money. let's get this straight. social security should not be on the table, as we discuss this issue. now, we know eight years from now, seven years from now, nine years from now, social security has to be adjusted because of the continuing number of people that are coming on. are we out of time? just as i'm getting wound up on social security? my friends -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. garamendi: i think we are
finished for this evening and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania rise? mr. altmire: i would make a motion to adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the house stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m.
daughter and son-in-law to pack all of their belongs. we had to go back to our little house in virginia, the neighborhood was surrounded by secret service. we were living there as vice president. i will never forget mom is cooking dinner, literal lay we are sitting around the dinner table and mom is cooking dinner and she looks at my dad and goes jerry something is wrong here. you just became president of the united states and i'm still cooking. >> on growing up in the white house sunday. it is part of american history tv right into christmas day on c-span 3. next house speaker john boehner
on negotiations with president obama on the so-called fiscal cliff. the president has said he can accept tax increases for households making more than $400,000. this is about 10 minutes. >> our hope continues to reach an agreement with the president on a balanced approach that avoids the fiscal cliff. the president is not there yet. the white house offered yesterday was $1.3 trillion in new revenues for only $850 billion in net spending reductions. that is not balanced in my opinion. so at the same time we're going to continue to talk with the president we're going to also move to plan b. i think we all know that every income tax filed in america is
going to pay a higher rate come january 1 unless congress agents. i believe it is important that we protect as many american taxpayers as we can. our plan b would protect american tax -- taxpayers who make $1 million or less. i hope we can reach an agreement that would reduce spending. i think it would be better for our country and having a backup plan and moving down that path is the course of action for us. >> good morning. i think all four hearts and prayers --all of our hearts and prayers are with the families in
newtown, connecticut, grieving the loss of their children and loved ones. we remain committed to try to minimize the impact on hard-working families and small businesses in this country as far as tax increases are concerned. we look to find the answer on the spending issue here in washington. the president has not come to or he needs to be in order for us to push through a bill that begins to address the problem. we are now discussing an alternative plan. thank you. >> we have been trying to make sure we didn't go off this fiscal cliff.
at the same time, put america on a different path. the speaker felt maybe he was negotiating with himself after plan after plan and the president stayed silent. we heard nothing but silence. today we have to go to plan b. we want to make sure we do not call off the cliff and that we keep an economy where jobs can be created. we have to remember where we are in the situation. we are two months into a new fiscal year. we are $292 billion in debt.
revenues are up by 10%, $30 billion. the sad reality is spending is up 16%, $87 billion. that is where the problem lies. an america that can create jobs. >> the clock continues to tick and we're days from the end of the year. the best gift we can give is an agreement. give certainty to our small business owners said they can pursue that innovation and prove to the american people that we can get our job done. that is the best christmas gift
and i'm confident that we can get it done. is our moment. now we ask the president to join us in that effort. >> republicans have gone above and beyond to work with the president and democrats to negotiate this deal and americans can no longer afford to have for cake and eat it, too. our debt is growing faster than our economy. tax revenue will be eaten up by medicare, medicaid, social security, and the interest on our debt. national security will have to be furnished with borrowed money.
the president did not support a plan that would address our long-term spending problem. we cannot afford for the american people to keep struggling. spending cuts are required at this time. americans deserve a solution. the president should meet us halfway. >> what is your definition of a balanced deal? >> most people would agree that that is balanced. >> does it have to be exactly -- >> we don't have a balanced plant when the president is calling for $1.3 trillion in revenue. >> the nation is still in mourning.
what kind of effect will that have? blasting the country wants to see is a long drawn-out battle. >> this is a difficult time for americans. we continue to have hope that we can reach an agreement. it is not a time to put americans through more stress. >> what would plan b mean -- which to incorporate any of that into the legislation? >> we continue to look at how we would address those issues as we put this bill together.
dealing with the issue of the alternative minimum tax and with the debt tax be part of the bill would bring to the floor. we would not deal with the sequester. >> how close we say the president's plan? >> i would put a trillion dollars of revenue on the table if he would put a trillion dollars of spending on the table. >> how adamant that medicare eligibility age needs to be part of this? some people think this is an arbitrary cut. >> there are a lot of issues on the table.
that issue has been on and off the table. it is an issue for discussion. it is an issue if congress were to do tax reform, that issue will certainly be open to debate in that context. thanks. >> we'll hear from house democrats. john larson who is from connecticut announced a new task force on gun violence about the shootings going on in his state. speaker boehner's laterest offer. this briefing is about 25
minutes. >> good morning. we just completed our democratic caucus. we're proud of our members and the unity expressed with the citizens of newtown, connecticut. for those children and adults who lost their lives last friday. there was a lot of discussion and we have seen far too much violence and loss of life and it seems to have intensified. the feeling of this caucus i
believe is the feeling all around the country, enough is enough. we heard from chris murphy, senator-elect and the current represent from newtown talking about the community and how they have responded in this small town as the president of the united states said it has been inspirational in terms of how they have dealt with this tragedy from everything from the first responders arriving on the scene to the teachers and administrators and the way they executed the plan that saved lives and who put themselves in the way of the assassin to save the lives of children.
we are resolved in our caucus that the time to act is now and that we know taking no action is to be complicit to a future event. we announce today that we will have a task force that will serve to coordinate all of our efforts. we know that this is a comprehensive issue. we know that it is not just restrictions that need to be placed on guns but also the issues of mental illness, the culture of violence, and youth violence specifically. members of our caucus from carolyn mccarthy to grace
napolitano to bobby scott and countless others who have been working on these issues for years, we are going to address this in a comprehensive way. mike thompson step today and we have tapped him to lead this effort in court nation. a hunter, a vietnam veteran, a wounded vietnam veteran who spoke both from his heart and also with the common-sense practical measures that he has become noted for in his service in congress in the ways and means committee and the large respect that the members of the caucus have for him. we will have mike address this issue.
mike? >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you all for being here. what happened in connecticut similar to what is happening everyplace else, there has been done violence and it is rotten to the court and it has to stop. we have to address all the issues that play into what happened in connecticut. i am a gun owner and a hunter. i have been one for as long as i can remember. i was trained with an assault weapon when i was in the army and i was given one went i went to vietnam.
i carry that rifle until i was wounded in vietnam. i do not see that changing. i know that this is not a war on guns. gun owners and hunters have every right to own legitimate guns for legitimate purposes. we are not going to take law abiding citizens' gun away from them. i also know that our communities and neighborhoods and society receive no benefit from military-type weapons on the streets or assault clips in the hands of anyone. we will bring about sensible gun laws.
this is not new. you cannot own fully automatic weapons or sawed-off shotguns. there are restrictions. we to make sure our children and our community is as safe as we can possibly making it and i've been asked to coordinate the effort. >> the unanimity in our caucus in everybody that spoke who's experienced whether it be columbine or aurora or in portland or in connecticut, our caucus remains united in this
effort. for those of us in connecticut, it was especially heartening to see the reaction and the commitment. our caucus as we plan to have another caucus this afternoon, as we learn about the details of what the president's reaction will be. we remain united behind our president and his efforts on the front of ending the culture of violence that has permeated this country and the necessity for a long discussion, a deep dialogue over protecting our children and
also his efforts to bring fiscal sanity to this process and prevent us from reaching are going over this fiscal cliff. we stand united behind our president and we will be meeting later this afternoon. i would like to have the vice chair and chair-elect of the caucus, xavier becerra. >> i applaud you for all the work you have done to try to address the needs of all the victims and their families. i share in the comments of my colleague and friend from california and what he has said and he will be a great leader on this issue. as much as the words have been important, we hope they have been somewhat soothing.
you can express anything to satisfy yourself and the families of the victims. it has been important would try to communicate all of the families that are victims today and all the people in connecticut trying to help these families. we all stand with them. those words must be followed by deeds. we must act. we're looking for it to work under the leadership of mike thompson. we have a lot to do. we're thankful the president has said something must be done. we will have our words fall by deeds.
than the yield to the vice-chair elect. >> thank you, xavier. all three of my children were born while i have been a member of congress. i have a little guy that is 7 years old. yesterday i learned of a boy named ben wheeler who rides from times square to citi field. i love the seven line as well and so did my kids. saw in that face my own little boy. for all of us, that has to strike home. it did for me and my family. this event is unique in the
innocence that was lost. with little children, they were taken and it brings all of us to this table. inaction would be nicollette and would be complicit -- inaction would be neglect and complicit. we should protect whomever we can. we cannot protect everyone from all evil. there are steps we can take reasonably. my in-laws are from montana. people enjoy the ability to hunt.
i have never done it myself. i understand the meaning of that for my in-laws and for so many people of this country. reasonable steps can be taken to insure the safety of our children in particular can be safeguarded. i thank mike and our republican colleagues who will stand with us as well. i appreciate them taking the action. >> i want to commend our colleague chris murphy who addressed the caucus today and led our resolution on the floor last evening and has been on the scene throughout these last several days.
i want to commend senator limit fall and lieberman -- and meeting with the families --said her blumenthal -- senator blumenthal. the police officers in newtown and the small village of sandy hook. all they have pulled together and provided inspiration for all of us. the governor of the state of connecticut has been incredible. sunday evening he said with winter approaching, he will forever think of these children when gentles knows it begin to fall -- when gentle snows begin
to fall as individual snowfalls. he went to talk about the spring and how newtown and sandy hook and the state of connecticut will recover and the flowers will come up and we will think of these children again. but they will always be in our memory. we have a special responsibility as elected members of congress. pen in pad, writing what you do during your moment of service in the united states congress. it is time for the congress to act. i am proud of mike taking on
this responsibility and the coronation and the short and long-term efforts. we will act. and with that we will take questions. >> speaker boehner has a plan to keep taxes low for those earning under $1 million a year. and that type of plan gain any support from house democrats? >> which plan is that one? speaker boehner has a difficult tasks. we do not know the details of plan a, plan b, or whenever plan c might be. we hope it is a process that
yields success but we have little details and an awful lot suggestions. our understanding is the speaker's plans have been rejected by his own conference. we will be meeting later. we will wait to hear what our president continues to say in unifying us and the country and we will meet later to discuss it. it is hard to, not knowing the details -- it is hard to comment not knowing the details. we think the president has been operating in good faith. we understand that is what he continues to do. we have rob neighbors in our
caucus -- rob nabors. he is on his way back to the white house. they need to discuss what has transpired with the speaker and the republican conference, which we do not know all the details either. >> a change in the cpi. is your caucus willing to support that? >> we didn't get into that kind of discussion. there isn't a concrete plan are details before the caucus. all of you can surmise what people in the caucus have had to say about that. until there is a proposal that people will vote on, it seems like a moving target. not much we can comment on.
>> in the abstract -- >> that is more than in the abstract. we are not going to comment on that. the nation is in a difficult spot. we expect our leaders to step up. the president continues to step up. but we see resistance. we understand the difficulty that john boehner has with the more recalcitrant members of this caucus. we continue to stand with the president. the proposal has to accomplish the goals that he has outlined. we have not seen the kind of response from the other side.
>> you said there should not be changes in social security. >> that is right. >> do you see resistance to possible changes in the cpi? >> the president has tried to make it clear he will try to come up with a plan that would be balanced and would address our deficits and still let us move forward to create jobs. many of us have faith the president if he strikes a deal will do was a plan that we can vote on that would provide the fairness and the balance. what the actual elements would be is unclear. social security has never
contributed a single penny to the deficits and the debt that we face. u.s. americans who have paid taxes into the social security system when those benefits, to ask them to take a cut in their benefits to cover the cost of deficits caused by bush tax cuts that work and paid for or to pay for two wars, doesn't make sense to me. we hope the republicans will cease their push to cut benefits through a change in the eligibility age for medicare beneficiaries, for the change they are requested on social security whether it is the consumer price index change on the cola. we would like this to be a fair
and balanced approach. the republicans in the house have rejected the run speaker's proposal at this stage. it seems like the real negotiation and fight is among republicans. >> we have said this every week that we have been here since we returned. we have a bill in front of us that we can pass and has been passed by the united states senate. the middle class should not have to endure a tax hike when we have a bill that is ready to go and has the support of democrats and i believe republicans in the house who will join with us on this issue. it is the right thing to do on
behalf of the middle class. these events that transpired in connecticut and here to demonstrate there is a responsibility on us to act. we have jobs bills that would put the country back to work. these are things we all agree on. democrats and republicans share an interest in making sure the entire middle class and even millionaires get a $250,000 tax break. those are things we agree on. let's resolve these for the people of this country and the middle class and put the country back to work and deal with these issues in a way we know we can come together.
>> we appreciate the fact that they are talking. we also know these can be differently. not everything we want will be in the bill and not everything they want will be in the bill. that is a part of negations. but we support the president. we support getting something done before we leave. i think the cha raids, during the holiday season we'll getting together with our families and some of the folks we sit around the table we agree with and some of them we don't. you should not talk about politics and or religion at the dinner table and that is what we do talk about during the holiday season. sometimes we will play charades and this is not a time for charades and games on the floor. speaker boehner needs to come
together that their failure to act will have consequences for the united states. they need to move from playing games to getting something done before we leave here. >> do you consider the president's plan to be fair and balanced and could you vote for it if it was offered today? >> we're going to be hearing later this afternoon, once we get the full fleshing out of the details we will we will have a caucus on that and discuss the issues. i think this has been said by both the vice chair and vice chair elected that it seems that republicans are in a discussion with themselves on what they can potentially agree to. we will wait and see. we remain united behind our president. >> i do not know the full
details, but speaker boehner told reporters that they would extend the tax cuts for incomes below a certain amount. you have been calling on them and they have not acted on the bill that you have proposed that would extend the cuts for those making $250,000 and under. >> we would reject that notion. that is simply -- that simply does not get it odione. period. i think the speaker knows that. >> it is interesting to ask the minority members where they would be. i think you will find that the majority camp -- >> [inaudible]
>> thank you very much. >> now we will hear from senate majority leader harry reid. he said that latest fiscal cliff proposal will not pass the senate. his remarks last about 10 minutes. >> i can remember all the things i see on the cameras. alan simpson and i served on the same committee. he had ever look him that a meeting was not important unless
there were at least six cameras. wielding for -- we only have four. it is time for leadership. we cannot continue to kick the can down the road. it has happened for far too long. a compromise requires both sides to make tough choices. instead of making tough choices , house republicans threatened to abandon serious negotiations. i am sorry to say this is happened time and time again. bowles-simpson, two rounds of boehner-obama talks, gang of six, gang of eight, supercommittee. every time they take that football and it is a charlie
brown episode where they jerked the ball away. this is what they are doing again. republicans have walked away from serious negotiations in the past three and half years. as soon as president obama was reelected, we started talking about the need to do something about the long-term financial security of this country. compromising takes encourage. walking away as they have done -- there is a small minority linda strings in the republican house. the tea party agenda not be further from the priorities of middle-class americans. there will come a time when the republicans will have to choose between the tea party and the american people. americans are clear about what they want. democrats, republicans,
independents -- more than 60% of republicans believe that the rich should pay more. they want a balance when that combines smart spending cuts while asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share. they want us to protect the middle class from having 2200 tax increase come january 1 -- januaryx increase come 2 1. his so-called land be -- plan b is allowing people who make up to $1 million not to pay more. we believe people making less than 250,000 dollars should not bear the burden of the problems we have fiscally. we should be focusing on a large scale, allen's approach of deficit reduction. -- balanced approach of deficit
reduction. the senate a bill is the only one that will protect middle- class families the tax hike on january 1. >> what would you support going forward? >> i have given statements on this before. i watched the statements in the prayers take lace in connecticut. -- place in connecticut. we have to accept the reality that we're not not doing enough to protect our citizens. the president will do everything he can administratively. you must engage thoughtfully in laws to prevent violence. every idea should be on the table on how to best to keep our children safe. >> [inaudible] >
>> i have been very clear. we need to have a full discussion. the president has made an overture to the speaker. we hope to get something affirmative from the republicans. from this, they have walked away. i appreciate the president showing the american people how reasonable he is trying to be. a significant tax increases and significant cuts. >> [inaudible] >> this is not a situation where we are going to vote on a provision in a bill. it will be a framework and how to deal with the framework of
the security of this country. >> [inaudible] >> plan b as i understand it calls out for sending out a bill english the only thing that'll be in it would be raising taxes for those who make over $1 million. at this -- if that is not walking away, i do not know what walking away is. leaders pressed for ray, he said negotiations are not closed. i talked to the president today. he has not heard a word from boehner. yes. >> [inaudible] >> yes, we have a just what will
yre's e heatsenator on your waiu death. >> why was he wrong to do that? >> they have done a wonderful job advocating for that. we're trying to come up with something to stimulate the economy. the president took that away from us when he recommended and advocated that we continue all of the tax cuts. that came up in an entirely different context from now. everyone should understand that boehner's proposal will not pass the senate. >> what about as a last chance? >> not even as a last chance.
we are not going there. that would be so unfair. it does nothing to address the problems we have in this country with the debt. without doubt was the republicans number one thing, to do something about the debt. >> [inaudible] >> the question is, if you send it over, will we amend it? the plan b is how i told you. there are different ways we can move forward. thank you, everybody. >> minority leader mitch mcconnell and other republicans give their take on the fiscal cliff negotiations. senator mcconnell was also
asked about legislation to ban assault weapons on the wake of the connecticut shootings. >> good afternoon. the entire congress is condemning the violence in newtown and the need to enforce our laws. as we continue to learn the facts, congress will examine whether there is an appropriate and constitutional response that would either protect our citizens. with regard to the year end tax issue, i would remind everyone that in the summer of 2010, senator schumer said, "i do not know a single one of my colleagues who would not preferred to give tax breaks for people to $1 million -- who make up to $1 million." >> i think the other thing that
is getting lost in the debate of the fiscal cliff is where are the savings? where are the savings cuts? the president has talked about a plan. they are trying to negotiate with the house speaker. how much will be raise taxes on small businesses? we think it is a terrible idea on a weak economy. you have an awful lot of middle- class americans who work for small businesses. we believe -- and american people support this when you look at the polls -- two thirds of americans believe that we ought to cut spending across the board. 61% of americans believe there should be major spending reductions in any kind of fiscal close the deal. what we continue to see from the white house is the very thing that would hurt the economy and hurt jobs. we want to see the economy start
to grow and expand again. he has no interest whatsoever in dealing with entitlement programs. we need spending solutions. that is where the president has been absent. he hope you'll come to the table and engage in what we can do to rein in federal spending and reform our entitlement entitlement programs so we can save and protect medicare and social sick to defer future generations -- and save social security for future generations. that is what this ought to be about. right now the president seems obsessed with raising taxes on small businesses and people across this country. >> and the deficit numbers that came out confirmed exactly what senator schumer has said. we have a spending problem. we are on the course for a fifth year in a row for a deficit over $1 trillion.
the numbers came out for the fiscal year. we spent about 4% more than last year. the percentage of increase spending is higher when you look at social security and medicare and medicaid. at this list provides an opportunity to work together to address those problems -- the fiscal cliff provides an opportunity to work together to address those problems so we can save those programs for future generations. >> on two topics, my grandchildren are under 10. i think every family in america, every mom, dad, grandparent, mother, sister, young, or old, was shocked by the tragedies those families are dealing with. whatever you thought with your biggest problem this morning i
believe does not seem like a big problem right now compared to the tragedy that those families are dealing with. the second topic would be where we are on taxes. i looked across at the person who was speaking for me. they had a big poster -- 19 days until 98% of middle american families get a tax increase. now the poster says -- 13 days today. i worked hard to get those tax packages. i can tell you that no one at the time said this would be great for 98% of all american taxpayers. the amazing thing is that the white house to most democrats on the senate and the house floor,
they are saying that these tax acted just -- tax packages is essential to the economic future of families and the country. we're only 2 percentage points moved from those who say we need have 98% of these. i hope we can figure out how to get the right thing done for american families. b oneaker boehner's plan taxes -- >> what about land be -- plan b ?
>> i don't support raising taxes on any taxpayers. the senate conference has been in on that for some time. >> mr. boehner says -- >> i would not be supportive of a proposal that had permanent tax reductions for a substantial portion of the american taxpaying public. i only be would be not to raise taxes on anyone, but we will deal with it when the package comes over from the house. the majority will have the chance to change it. we will see what they want to do when it comes over. our goal is to prevent taxes from going up on anybody. under current law, that will happen. it requires action in advance.
we will take a look at what the house since over. i think it is great they will send over a proposal that apparently makes permanent tax rates that were established during the bush years for 98% of americans. my preference would be for that rate to apply to all taxpayers. >> their taxes would revert to what the old policy was. >> my personal preference would not to be raising taxes on anyone. these measures begin on the house of representatives and we will deal with the package when it comes over. >> they interpret that as a tax increase. >> we will deal with that when it comes over. >> [inaudible] >> i think right now people are
properly thinking about the catastrophe in connecticut last week. the majority will have the opportunity what matters on schedule. thank you. >> next a news conference with the rady campaign to prevent gun violence following the newtown, connecticut shootings. this is 40 minutes. >> good morning. thank you for being here. i would like to thank you the birdie campaign for asking me to host this conference. -- brady campaign for asking me to host this conference. thank you for those under extraordinary courage. gun violence has inflicted pain in in every corner of this
country and ending lives too far too soon and leaving families scarred. at sandy hook elementary in newton, and shook all of us to the court. no parent should ever have to deal at the anguish and sorrow that families in midtown are dealing with today. -- newton are dealing with today. one of the most difficult responses i have had in that office was to meet with mothers and fathers who were victimized by gun violence. nothing could match the pain they felt through their loss. the recent tragedy is unfortunately only the most recent of a long series of mass killings involving guns. this is especially horrific because it included the slaughter of children. suree weeks ahead, i'm
we'll have plenty of opportunity to look for new ways to address this critical issue. we have to be certain that the voice of the families affected by gun violence are heard in this debate. as we prepare the 113th congress, it is the critical that both sides dedicate themselves to everything they can to prevent this violence. if our values as americans means anything at all, ensuring all of us us are entitled to enjoy our lives and live safely and freely from gun violence. i would like to and thank the president of the brady campaign . [applause] >> thank you, representative. thank you for being here. thedan gross, president of brady campaign and center for the venting gun violence. i want to start by underscoring
that this event is not about any organization or any group of organizations. it is about the voices you will hear from the voices that have been touched by gun violence and everyone who wants to live in a safer nation. to that end, i will want to begin by having everyone here who is here to hear their voices heard to introduce themselves and tell you why they are here. >> my name is theresa hoover. my son was killed in the aurora theater shooting. >> my son was 27 and he died in the aurora on july 20.
in addition, he saved his girlfriend. >> my name is karen. my son was killed in the aurora the shooting in july. he was 24 years old and he saved his girlfriend. >> my name is jessica. my cousin was 26-year-old jonathan that was killed in aurora. >> our daughter jessica was killed and aurora on july 20 of this year.
>> my sister was in the aurora shooting and she was 23 years old. >> i am her cousin. >> i'm here today with my wife in memory of our 19-year-old daughter who lost a life in the rampage shooting 12 years ago in nevada city, california. >> i am here today on behalf of my family in memory of my mother who was shot and killed in 2005 on memorial day in thousand oaks, california. >> my name is geraldine hill. my sister was killed off duty in michigan in october of 1994.
>> i am here because my son was murdered may 10, 2007, in chicago, illinois, on a crowded bus. >> my sister was a freshman at virginia tech. she was only 18 years old. >> my father was a professor and taught civil engineering at virginia tech and he was killed on april 16, 2007. >> my name is john woods. my girlfriend was killed that virginia tech.
-- at virginia tech. >> i was shot four times at virginia tech and survived. i'm here for the 32 that did not. >> i'm from chicago and my son was murdered on church grounds while coming outside of the church. i am pleading for our leaders to help us. >> i am here on behalf of my daughter who was murdered on march 30, 2010, on south capitol street. she was 16 years old and my only child, with an ak-47. >> i came here from phoenix,
arizona. i lost my son seven years ago. thank you. >> i'm here to give a voice to my baby sister who was killed when she was 15 in salt lake city. >> my daughter was killed in salt lake city. i was also seriously injured in 2007. >> my name is peter reed. my daughter mary was shot and killed in french class on the
campus of virginia tech on april 16, 2007 -- on the campus of >> my little brother was riddled with bullets on september 8, 2001, in sacramento, california. >> i am the father of daniel who was killed in the massacre at columbine high school. >> my name is paul wilson. my beautiful wife of 26 years was cowardly shot and killed in
california, october 12, 2011. >> i am father of a boy who miraculously survived the shooting. he was in the line of fire. i'm here not to represent the entire town. i'm here on my own accord. >> the town he is talking about is newtown, connecticut. is there anybody else that has a story they want to share? i come to this issue through personal experience. my younger brother was shot at the observation deck of the empire state building.
i want to point out today there will be 32 more families that know the pain and horror you have heard today. we pay a lot of attention to these mass shootings. we also have to be aware that this happens in our nation every day. as a nation, we're better than this. i want to thank you for coming and what we are confident is a momentous day in the history of this issue. we have people from all over the country. we are here because we love our children, our husbands, our wives, our brothers, and our sisters. we mourn them and we wish they
had not been shot. this is a testament to our love for them. we are here because we love our country. we are better than this as a nation. we're here from tucson, aurora, virginia tech, and newtown, connecticut. conic in theecome inc bizarre gun violence. we know that america is greater than those awful moments. we envision an america that is known as the nation that solves this terrible gun violence academic once and for all. we can do this. they say friday's mass shooting changed everything, and it has.
it is a tipping point. senators have shifted their position. republican television commentator said sandy hook changed everything. president obama said we cannot tolerate this any more. friday changed everything. for me was the shooting in 1997 on the observation deck that changed everything. that is when my brother was shot and our dear friend was killed. for others it was any of the places you just heard. for some it was sandy hook elementary school in newtown. for jim and sarah brady, a day in 1981 changed everything when jim a stand behind the armed guards but was still struck by gun violence. that did change everything.
every day in america, everything changes for hundreds more families. every year in america, 100,000 americans are shot, 30,000 of them fatally. there is so much we can do to prevent this carnage. 40% of gun sales take place without a background check. no questions asked. felons and domestic abusers can easily get guns. 74% of nra members support closing this whole. -- hole. we need a sustained, thoughtful, national conversation about
solutions to air gun violence epidemic. demic.our gun violence episd a conversation that is respectful of the second amendment but cognizant of the risks dunst post to our families -- risks to our families and neighborhoods, like in the cases you heard about today. none of these policies have anything to do with second amendment rights. this is the conversation the american public wants to have. those who own guns and those who do not, we are speaking out, based on one simple idea. we are better than this.
we are here to make our voices heard. the voices of everyone that just want to live in a safer nation. we will take that message to the halls of congress and directly to the white house. we are not going away until america's gun policies to truly change and that we do everything we can to protect our children and our communities. we have shown that we are better than this. thank you for being here and thanks to all of you who share your stories and to have the courage. now we'll hear from tom, who will share some additional thoughts. tom?
>> thank you, dan. i'm here today wearing my son's shoes. they are the shoes he was wearing in 1999 when he was done down at columbine high school. it is amazing we have the same size shoes. he was a member of the debate team. i now wear his shoes in the great debate. we had that debate in the year after columbine. legislators refuse to close the loophole so we took it to the people. people close the gun show loophole. that same night, but closed it 60% to 40%. americans will step up when
there elected officials do not. they vote for reasonable gun la ws. we cannot put every measure before a vote. we have to be able to count on our elected officials to do that for us. it would be easy to be discouraged after 13 years of this activity. easy to be discouraged. but i cannot be, because i have hope and these people have hope that we can do something to change it. these people refused to be statistics. they want to be the stories of ordinary americans. they have been through hell and
they do not want it to happen to the rest of you. they are ordinary people that were thrown into an extraordinary tragedy. they didn't ask to be thrown into that like so many others that dan mentioned. it happens to so many people. we are not here to ask for your pity. we're asking to share our stories with few. these stories could be your stories. it could be any one of you. it could be your story. the people here today have not given up hope despite the tragedy that has befallen them. they refuse to listen and to accept that message of hopelessness that we have been hearing so often in america.
"there is nothing you can do about this." "you can keep guns away from criminals." that's not what america is about. that is not the america i grew up in. we can have hope for change. we will not accept those excuses. the folks here are here to ask for that conversation. we know that silence and inaction can be deadly. and in fact it has been. like most americans, we are saying that enough is enough. we are better than this. it's time to talk and time to act. thank you. >> thank you, tom.
you don't need to edit "ave maria" over these remarks. i want to point out one thing that tom talk about, which is this notion of a debate. the conversation at the american public wants to have is not a debate. this is something most americans agree on. the only place in this country where this is a heated political debate, the only place is in that building behind us. there is a disconnect between what the american public wants and what the elected officials are doing about it.
we're confident that this tragedy will shine such a spotlight on that disconnect that our elected officials are going to do the right thing and join the conversation. that's what we're asking for today. i would like to introduce two of my newer heroes. >> good morning. i'm going to talk about jessica, my daughter, and how she died. i think it is important for all americans to understand that this should have and could have been fixed and long, long time ago. she went to the movies with her
best friend who was visiting from texas. they sat down in what should been a relaxed evening and all hell broke loose. when the bullets started flying, her friend pushed her to the ground where she was first hit in the leg. he tried his best to stop the flow of blood and protect her when a bullet went flying through the seat that should have protected her and hit her in her head. that horrendous scene replays in my head over and over again, as it does for every other member of our aurora family. brent, who was with my daughter, was composed enough.
when the bullets stopped flying, he removed himself to the railing of the theater. he took his cell phone and called me to let me know that my daughter had been murdered. that is a hero. congress, the senate, and our president have an opportunity to be a hero as well and stop the bloodshed. it is sad that it has taken 20 young lives to have this conversation began in earnest. we hope that there are positive changes that come from this. tom mentioned that this could happen to any of us, and it can. don't fool yourself. and you're no longer safe to go to a church or go to the movies or enter a school, there is something horribly wrong with
our society. we need to make those changes and we need to make sure that this never happens again in our country. thank you. >> thank you for continuing to have the kurds to share your story -- for having the courage to share your story. i would like to introduce andre to share his story. >> there are two parts to my story. one part is what happened to my
son. he went to school in the morning on the bus just like he normally does. and then when he was a classroom helper, he needed to turn in attendance sheets to the principal's office. him and another little kid. together, they went into the hallway. when they were nearing the principal's office, i heard gunshots that he describes as someone standing in the door. he says that he saw bullet's passing by. the teachers told us that the bullets were there. these two wonderful kids were saved by the bravery of the
wonderful teacher, mrs. clemens , who i will always be thankful for. she pulled them into her own classroom and barricaded the door. they were safe. unfortunately, for many families in our town, that is not true. i cannot describe what i feel about that. if we could rewind the reality and event what happened, i would give anything to do it. now my story. for many years, i watched what was happening in this country.
i'm an immigrant. i have been here for 22 years. i have held this belief that america has a history with guns . gun owners and people who handle guns, they know how to keep them safe and be responsible. our politicians will do whatever they can to make sure that our kids are safe. every time something like columbine, virginia tech, aurora what happened, i would avert my eyes and still think that something would be done.
all of those beliefs were shattered on friday. now i think that we all need to speak up. i say "we all" because i know that many of you, everyone thinks that we need to make this society safer. if not for us, let's make it safer for our kids. let us unite and stop this partisan division. it is not a partisan issue. it is an issue of safety for our children. that is why i decided to step forward. i was not asked to do so. i'm not even sure how many members of my own town feel about that. i have received support from people i know in town.
i did not talk to many people. i try not to watch tv or to listen to the radio. everyone i talk to thinks that change needs to be done. please, let's stop the partisan bickering. let's get money out of politics and act in the interest of people. in america, we can do it. this is a beautiful country. let's turn it back into the country we have lost and make it safe for kids. >> almost tempted not to say anything else. thank you, andre. one thing i was struck by when you spoke about the heroics of mrs. clemens, is seems like there was almost a protocol on this is what you do. it made me think about the
correspondence we got for those of us who have kids in school who insperity similar -- there was a letter on how to talk to your to develop this and informing us about the protocol in the event of a shooting at our school. if we are not better than that and dealing with how we deal with a shooting after it has broken out at an elementary school, what are we better at? with that, i will take questions. >> there are a lot of reporters in washington. a lot in the world are looking at this and wondering how in heavens name dated it to this point were you collaborating around with battlefield weapons?
could you take a stab at explaining to the audience how it got to this stage? >> first, take heart who ever that representative was. they were not speaking on behalf of of the american public. it is important not to devolve into that conversation or be started by it. every american knows that they answer to violence is not more violence and the answer to guns is not more guns. in terms of the assault weapons , there was an assault weapon in place that jim and sarah brady were instrumental in leading. it was signed into law. senator feinstein is reintroducing it. i lead the charge in congress, as well as other visionary congress persons. i do not want to get too legalistic. that means it goes away must it
gets renews. that was after 10 years. in 2004, the will of the american public does not want to walk around on the streets with these military style weapons. it did not manifest itself in congress enough to prevent the allowing it is a passive action. it was allowed to sunset. the last eight years, we have not had the assault weapons ban in place. we are seeing a lot of the carnage that resulted in was weapons. >> if the principal had had a gun, this would have been stopped. perhaps there is morgan writes needed and not less. ore gun rights needed and
not less. >> that is insane. my brother was shot in a chaotic shooting on the observation deck of the empire state building. everyone who is there would say that having more weapons would have only resulted in more carnage. the people at virginia tech to tell you the same. the people there in aurora would say the same thing. like i said before, it is important not to get dragged into a debate over that. it is not the vision of the american people. that is saying that the only answer we have to violence is more violence. the only answer we have two guns is more guns. think about where that vision leads us. that is not the vision of the american public. i would hope that the representative is ultimately held responsible --
our entire nation wants the assault. -- antswnants this solved. >> do want to push for that now? >> we have not had the opportunity to sit down with senator feinstein yet and analyze the specifics. another important element is the magazine size. it is not part of the definition of an assault weapon, but it was an important part of the assault weapon ban. when we do start to have conversations, it is important to remember president obama's remarks that he made at the vigil in newtown.
there is not going to be one answer that will solve all of the problems. there is not one answer to you race all of the evil from the world or to prevent -- to erase all the evil from the world or to prevent violence in the world. once we get into the intricacies of pieces of legislation, let's look at the potential of how many lives it can save and not how many lives it cannot save. let's look at it comprehensively in what we can do about it. >> [inaudible] do you have any numbers that would tell us anything about before and after the ban? >> the important thing to point
out is that the mass shootings are the exception to gun violence in our country. every day, people are murdered. we need to have the conversation in that context. look at it in terms of almost epidemiology. what can we do to prevent most of those deaths possible without infringing on second amendment as it has been clearly defined by the supreme court? we need to have the conversation not in terms of what can prevent one massacre. that could lead you down the wrong path or a could lead you down the least productive path. in terms of going away, that is what we mean. that is why we are here today. our pledge to you and the american people is that we are not going to let this go away. we are going to seize this moment to make sure that we
finally erase the disconnect between what the american people want and what our elected officials are doing about it. >> i know that your message today is not focused on them specifically, but everyone is waiting for them to say something and do anything. anything you would like to say to them? >> ok. >> again, my name is peter reed and my daughter was killed in her french class at virginia tech by someone who should not have had access to weapons he had access to. my daughter, who had not yet turned when he, loved her smith's-who had --who had not yet turned 20, loved christmas.
if it takes a literal slaughter of innocents in a holy season to wake us up, i him speaking as a father, we're here because because of losses that are incomprehensible on a personal level to most americans. god bless andre are coming forward at a time of when i did not think i was capable of moving or talking very well. we came together with danand some of us withnd mayor bloomberg because the nation is crying for a change. we know in our hearts what martin luther king said that the moral arc of the universe is long and bent towards justice. when i was here in april, if not now, when? god willing, maybe this is the
when. maybe this is the time. we are blessed to have many others who will be able to delve into the policy details that need to be dumped into. -- delved into. this is a day to ask our country to do be better. that is all i have to say. >> i want to answer the nra question. it is important to address the chasm that exists between the membership of the nra and very decent, law-abiding citizens who have a love of hunt or sport or collecting weapons. we certainly respect their second amendment rights and believe in their second amendment rights. the leadership of the nra acting as the gun lobby and in the interest of the gun lobby and tend to stifle the conversation you're hearing today -- i want
to use your question as an invitation to nra members. sandy has been an nra member. if there was ever an example of a decent and law-abiding citizen, there you have it. i give an invitation to anyone who loves to hunt, owns guns for any lawful purpose, to join us in this conversation. > the campaign to prevent gun pilot is named for jim brady who was shot by john hinckley during an attempt on president reagan's life in 1981. the national rifle association will hold a news conference friday. one week after the school shooting in newtown, connecticut. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> fence secretary leon panetta
urged congress to reach a compromise -- defense secretary leon panetta urged congress to reach a compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff. defense programs with members of the house and senate armed services committee. tomorrow, a senate panel looked at credit reports and consumer access to home loans and other financial products. watch live coverage from a banking subcommittee on consumer protection. at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c- span3. deputy secretary of state william byrnes will testify this week about the 9/11 attacks on the u.s. mission in benghazi, live thursday at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. >> remarks from defense secretary leon panetta at the national press club. secretary panetta talked about the federal budget, defense cuts and the security situation
in afghanistan. he visited afghanistan last week. this is an hour. >> good afternoon. welcome to the national press club. my name is theresa warner and i am the 100 president of the national press club. -- the 105th president of the national press club. we are committed to our professions future to our programming and events such as this while fostering a free press worldwide. for more information about the national press club, visit www. press.org. to donate our programs offered to the public through our national press club journal them and to do, visit press.org/institute. on behalf of our members
worldwide, i would like to welcome our speakers and those of you attending. our head table includes guest of our speaker as well as working journalists who are club members. if you hear applause in our audience, members of the general public are attending so is not necessarily evidence of a lack of journalistic activity. -- objectivity. i would also like to welcome our c-span audience. you can also follow the action on twitter, using hashtag npclunch. we will have a q&a and i will ask as many questions as time permits. i ask each of you to stand up briefly as your name is announced. from your right, jim michael, defense correspondent for usa
press club and former commander of american legion post no. 20. the incumbent editor in chief, aviation week. the national-security reporter, u.s. news and world report. [applause] 18 months ago, our guests today leon panetta presided as the cia director over one of the most daring operations in the country's history. operation neptune speaker, the rate on osama bin laden to a compound that the pakistan. three days ago, he landed in turkey where he signed an order that would sent to patriot missile and troops to the
turkish border, a warning to syrian president bashar al-assad to cease the air strikes and fighting against syrian rubbles that has led into turkish territory. we cannot spend a lot of time worrying about whether that passes off -- pisses off syria, secretary panetta said later. he said if he invited kim jong he servedinner, jh him a glass of wine and tried to find out how he thinks. he is clearly a complex man. his accomplishments over 74 years span two branches of government, education, and a little bit of farm labor on his california ranch. before taking office as the 23rd secretary of defense, secretary panetta served more than two years as cia director.
after three years, chief of staff to president clinton. he and his wife cut directed the leon and sylvia and the institute at cal state university at monterey bay. to promote public service. he served eight terms in congress. rising to chairman of the house budget committee in 1989. then'pressing s director of the office of management and budget -- then president clinton' director of the office of management and budget to replaced by me in welcoming to the national press club secretary defense leon panetta. [applause] >> thank you very much, theresa,
for that kind introduction. thank you for the introduction to be here today. i look forward to the opportunity to go back and pick walnuts back in california. told this story before but it makes the point. when i was young, my father when he first planted that walnut orchard as a group, he would go around and shake each of the branches. my brother and i would be underneath collecting the walnuts. when i got elected to congress, my italian father said you have been well trained to go to washington. because you have been dodging that's all your life. -- nuts all your life. [laughter] [applause] it was great training. i have had the opportunity to be
here at the press club and some -- in some of my past jobs as a member of congress and as chief of staff. in those jobs, words were my weapon and by shield. in this job as secretary of defense, i have a of a lot more going for me -- a hell of a lot more going for me. in democracy, words remain our most powerful weapon in our arsenal. it is for that reason is an honor for me to be here at the national press club. i have long had a deep and abiding respect for the washington press corps. you play an essential role in making our democracy strong. by holding leaders and
institutions accountable to the people they serve. as secretary of defense and in my past jobs, i learned it was important to be accessible to the press and to be transparent with them with regards to the issues and challenges you confront. in this job, i have tried to be as accessible as i can to the pentagon press corps to engage regularly with reporters and to encourage other senior officials in the department to do the same. it is an especially important time to communicate our vision and our priorities as a department. as i have said time and time again over this past year, i believe that we are at a
strategic turning point. after more than a decade of war, the longest extended period of conflict in the history of the united states. at the beginning of 2012, president obama and the military and civilian leaders of the department came together to publicly release a new defense strategy. it was designed to help the military affectively navigate this turning point and prepare for the future. under that strategy, our goal was to reshape the force of the 21st century. to try to meet the new security challenges that we are confronted in this world and try to help the country at the same time reduce the deficits which
are confronting. we were handed a number and the budget control act to reduce the defense budget by $487 billion over the next decade. based on my own budget experience at the time, i knew that the approach should be not to simply cut across the board and hollow out of the force. but try to develop a strategy, what is it what the defense department to be not just now but going into the future as well. that is the purpose why we developed the strategy. today i want to describe the strategic environment shaping our future. the progress we have made toward
implementing the strategy and the risks we face as they work every day to try to keep america safe and secure. before i continue, let me pay tribute to a couple people here who join me at the head table. my deputy secretary plays a crucial role in helping me and dod develop and implement this strategy. i deeply appreciate his dedication and commitment to the department. i also want to pay tribute to my undersecretary for policy who was also here and worked very hard on that strategy to ensure that we develop the right strategy for the future. i should also say dempsey and
all of the members all participated. in a kind of unprecedented effort to altmire discuss what were the best steps we could take for the future -- effor t to ultimately discuss what were the best steps be could take for the future. one year ago today, soldiers from the first calvary division went out of iraq into kuwait as part of the last convoy of u.s. troops to leave iraq. that war came to an end. last year, we also participated in a complex but successful nato mission that helped bring down gadhafi and give libya back to the libyan people. it was a complex application --
operation. when you have that many nations, how to decide targets, who goes after those targets? yet we were able to bring that kind of coordination together and it's certain nato, the united states very well. i think very much a model on how we should approach the future if we have to face that kind of situation again. that is one of the things i'm very proud of over the last four years. is the integration between intelligence and military operations when it comes to going after terrorists. as a result of those operations, we continue to significantly weaken al qaeda's core leadership. we are now working to bring the
conflict in afghanistan to a successful transition by the end of 2014. last week, i made my trip to afghanistan. i had a chance to sit down with all our military commanders. i went to kandahar had also had the opportunity to meet with afghan leaders as well. all of them believe that we have fundamentally turned in that effort after years in which we lacked the right strategy and necessary resources to strive to retrieve -- achieve the mission we embarked on. we now have a plan in place. indorse in chicago by nato. that has strong international support. be reversed a five-year trend of growing violence -- we reversed the five-year trend of growing violence.
the taliban to this day has not been able to regain in the of the territory they lost. we are building afghan security forces that are on track to take the lead for securing the entire country next year. we continue to transition both governance and security to the afghans. 75% of the population has not been transitioned to afghan security and control and next year, we will have 100%. but we have also made clear that our commitment to afghanistan, as we got down by the end of 2014, our commitment will continue. we are transitioning, we are not leaving. we will maintain an enduring presence aimed at supporting afghan forces and insuring the
mission that we were embarked on. the mission that al qaeda never again regains afghanistan as a safe haven from which to attack the united states or our allies. [applause] after more than 10 years. -- of continuous warfare, the plummet after deployment -- deployment after deployment, the united states is truly at a critical point. large-scale conflict in iraq and afghanistan with drawing to an end. an era of blank check defense spending is over.
forces will be reduced and all this occurs as the united states faces an array of threats in the world. even while it is obvious that we do not live in a world where another superpower threat and our military supremacy, it is equally obvious that the threats to our security and global interests are not receiving -- reseeding as the appeared to do in past wars. coming out of korea, vietnam, world war ii, the cold war. today, we still confront these threats in the world.
threats that are more complex, more dispersed and in many ways more dangerous. we have made progress against al qaeda's core leaders and its affiliates. we continue to do it in yemen and somalia. al qaeda is seeking a new foothold throughout the middle east. and in countries like mali. it remains determinedcd to attack the united states and remains one of the serious threats we must deal with. north korea, iran, continue to post a proliferation threat and are engaged in activities that are destabilizing north east
asia and the middle east. the conflict in syria is bringing and violent end to a regime that harbors a large stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. and extremists seek to destabilize a nuclear arms pakistan. increasing military spending by rising powers in the asia- pacific region and turmoil across the middle east in north africa are altering the strategic landscape. at the same time, the nature of military conflict is changing. because of the new technologies like fiber -- like cyber and proliferation of missiles, we are seeing potential
adversaries, state and non state actors alike acquire more advanced, hybrid and high-end capabilities designed to frustrate the conventional advantages of our armed forces. this means the military services must remain vigilant and strong and appeared to . to operate in a way that differs significantly from the past. we will continue to face terrorism and deadly attacks by ied's, but we must also be ready for more capable adversaries to attack our forces and homeland in cyberspace. to attack and launch precision strikes against forward bases,
to attempt to cripple our power grid, our financial systems, our government systems. to attempt to deny us freedom of action isometric attacks. as i said, the goals of our new defense strategy is to help shape the force of the 21st century. try to adapt our forces and operating concept said that we are better prepared for an unpredictable and dangerous future. we have been determined to avoid the approach taken in past drawdowns were as i said, there were deep across-the-board cuts that hollowed out the force and weakened our military.
it left the military demoralized and unready to carry out the missions assigned to it. instead, we have set priorities and made tough decisions to try to build the force of the future and to remain the strong his military power on the face of the earth. the strategy consist of five elements. we have already made to the degette progress this year towards implementing that strategy. -- progress this year towards implementing that strategy. the first element of the strategy is to build a force that will be smaller and leaner. as a reality. -- that is a reality. but we must ensure that at the same time, the military is
agile, flexible, and technologically advanced. and prepared to deploy as quickly as we can to confront crises in this dangerous world. facing constrained resources and the drawdown of two troop intense of wars, we made a decision to favor a smaller and more ready force over a larger force that would be less well equipped and trained. as a result, army and strength is going to be gradually reduced to 490,000 soldiers over these next 5-10 years from a high of about 570,000. the size of the marine corps will also be reduced slightly to about 182,000 from a peak of 202, 000 during the past decade.
we are also making investments to be capable of more quickly confronting a wider range of threats across a more dispersed geography. this past february, navy and marine corps conducted their first large-scale amphibious exercise in more than 10 years. in march, the army conducted its first exercise in its new decisive action framing environment that emphasizes combined arms maneuver against a combination of regular and conventional opponents. the second element of our defense strategy is to maintain our force protection where we needed. in the middle east and in the asia-pacific region.
the asia-pacific region is obviously an area of growing importance to our economy and our security. in the middle east, represent continuing threats to our security as well. even after the withdrawal of troops from iraq. we have maintained a substantial military presence in the middle east. in order to deter aggression. respond to crisis, and short regional stability in the face of historic unrest and a continuing threat from iran. last week, i visited some of our troops based in kuwait, part of a robust posture that includes roughly 50,000 troops, dozens of ships, fighters, bombers, advanced intelligence,
surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms. we are partnering closely with the gulf states to boost their capacity in critical areas such as missile defense and countermining which will help reduce the pressure to sustain these large deployments over the long term. i also visited an air base in turkey where i announced the deployment of the two u.s. patriot missile batteries as part of the nato effort to try to help protect our turkish allies against the threat of missiles from syria. even as they have asserted are strong and enduring commitment to the middle east, we are also renewing and expanding our engagement in the asia-pacific region. the core of our rebalance is modernizing our existing
network of alliances and security partnerships throughout the region. and developing new security relations as well. over the past year, we reached a major agreements with japan to realign our forces and to really develop guam as a strategic kabul. we have worked to strengthen cooperation with the republic of korea and we began a new marine rotational deployment to australia as well as increased air force cooperation. likewise we are deepening our engagement and developing rotational deployment with allies it -- and partners such as singapore and the philippines and expanding our dialogue and -- in exchanges with china. we are also an handed our presence and capabilities in the region. that includes -- expanding our
presence and capabilities in the region. that includes allocating our naval fleet to have a 60/40 s plit between the pacific and atlantic oceans, increasing army and marine presence in the region. locating our most advanced aircraft in the pacific, including new deployments of f- 22's and the mv22's to japan. and lay the groundwork for the first overseas deployment of the f-35 joint strike fighter. the third element of our strategy is that as we do force projection in the asia-pacific and middle east, we still have to maintain our global leadership and presence by
building innovative partnerships and partner capacity across the globe and using these innovative rotational deployment as a way to do exercises and training with other countries, developing their capabilities so they can provide for their own security. in latin america, africa, europe, and elsewhere. the past decade of war has reinforced the less than that one of the most effective ways to address long-term security challenges is to help build the capabilities of our allies. we have seen its approach with our counterinsurgency campaigns in iraq and afghanistan and our top to assert -- our counter- terrorism efforts in yemen and somalia. we are expanding our security force assistance to a wider range of partners, in order to address a broader range of security challenges.
in the asia-pacific, the middle east, and europe, africa, and latin america 3 to implement this area of strategy, the services are retaining the security cooperation capabilities we have honed over a decade of war and making investments in regional expertise. for example, for the army's new regionally aligned for grade a g brigade structure, they are able to engage on a rotational basis -- regio0nally aligned brigade structure, they are able to engage on a rotational basis. to cut through the prophecy and red tape to provide the assistance -- through the burea cracy and red tape to provide
assistance. i visited countries recently to help advance that growing partnership. also made an effort in a new joint u.s.-indian initiative to boost cooperation and trade and streamline our control processes. in order to remain the security partner of choice, the united states must maintain our decisive military edge and adapt to meet in emergency threats. the fourth elements of the new defense strategy is we must always remain capable of being able to confront and defeat aggression from more than one adversary at a time, anywhere, anytime. that means if we are engaged in a conflict on the karim peninsula and iran --korean
peninsula, we must be able to preside -- to both locations. maintaining our ability to simultaneously operate in multiple theaters by investing in critical power projection capability is, our aircraft carrier fleet, our big deck amphibious fleet, a new flow forward staging base and long- range strike capabilities. we are also making investments in the next generation bomber, tanker that will afford our air forces greater mobility and working every day to put our joint strike fighter program on a firmer footing. to stay ahead of the growing capabilities of potential adversaries and ensure our ability to quickly defeat
depression, we have begun to reexamine our plans to ensure we are prepared for the most realistic scenario for new and unconventional threats and attacks. we are also refining emerging operational, that's -- that will ensure our ability to project in areas where our enemies seek to deny -- to deny access. this cannot as be about cutting back on defense. we must also be able to invest in the future to protect and prioritize key investments in technology and new capabilities, as well as our capacity to grow, adapt and mobilize as needed. to out this strategy review, i
made clear this cannot be a budget exercise in deciding where we are going to cut. we have made this decision. we have looked at better efficiencies. we have their reductions in court structure and procurement reforms. we have looked at compensation. all of those areas as part of our budget proposal. if we are to maintain the finest military in the world we have got to invest in prior to missions for the future. despite budget reductions, we are standing our fleet of unmanned systems. this is the future. including new carrier launched surveillance and strike aircraft.
to boost priority counter- terrorism and build partner capacity efforts, continuing a planned growth in special operations forces which will reach 72,000 by 2017. we have protected investments in -- an accelerated testing of mobile air systems and ground ystems. we are increasing our separate capabilities, including talented manpower. the department has recently developed new rules of engagement in cyberspace. the clarify our mission to defend the nation and enable us to work with the response to cyber threats. we are also protecting our ability to regrow informers by
protecting a strong industrial base. if we face a crisis, i have to mobilize. the last thing i can do is to contact that responsibility out to another country. i have got to rely on our industrial security based to be there and to be able to respond. [applause] these are the five elements of the defense strategy and some of the important steps we have taken so far to implement. as a department, we are continuing to refine that strategy and we will continue to do that. right now, i see two principal risks. the first list is the stress on the force. which is still operating at a very high tempo, more than 11
years after september 11. we are still at war in afghanistan. we have been on a crisis posture in the middle east and north africa for the past year. and we will continue to maintain a strong presence in that region, even as we rebalance to the asia-pacific area. our outstanding men and women in uniform are the foundation of of everything we do. i've often said we have great weapons, great ships, great bombers, not of that is worth a dam without the u.s. men and women in uniform that serve this country. [applause] we need to ensure that service
members and their families have the support they have burnt in areas like health and education and employment, when the transition back into their communities so they can be able to go back home and reestablish their ties to their communities. in our budget, we have made a concerted effort to ensure the health of the force, the readiness wright protecting operations, keeping the most flexible what happens -- weapons platforms. nevertheless, there is pressure on the department to retain access force structure and infrastructure instead of investing in the training and equipment that makes our force agile and flexible and ready. aircraft, ships, tanks, basis,
even those that have outlived their usefulness, have been natural political constituent. readiness does not. readiness is too often sacrificed a did a favor of a larger and less effective force. i am determined to avoid that outcome. i have directed that readiness be treated as a strategic imperative for the department and we launched and the tisch -- an initiative to assess and approve our readiness across the board. our effort to do everything possible to ensure our ready force also makes lance -- explains why we express concerns about what we saw in the house and senate in 2013 defense authorization bills. what they did was in their markups and the bills that passed each of the houses, a
converted about $74 billion of what we asked for in savings in our proposed budget to the congress. and it diverted them to other areas that we frankly do not need. final legislation is now being negotiated and we're working. we will work with our partners there to try to improve it. i'm hopeful we will ultimately arrive at a bill that allows us to continue implementing the strategy we have defined -- designed affectively. we must make every dollar counts and they must continue to carefully manage the balance, sustaining current operations, being ready to respond to crisis and emerging threats, preparing for future operations and investing in the capabilities of the future. balancing these the defectively acquires resources and budgets -- but the stability. -- budget stability.
which brings me to another risk, a political system that is depriving the department of the budget certainty we need to plan for the future. for more than a year, this department has the operating under the shadow of sequestration, this mine was mechanism put in place to somehow force the congress to do the right thing. because of political gridlock, this department still faces the possibility of another round of across-the-board cuts totaling almost half a trillion dollars that will inflict lasting damage on our national defense and hurts the very men and women who protect this country. our troops, visit
they make clear their concerns about those cuts. what does it mean for them and what does it mean for their families? it is unacceptable to me that men and women put their lives on the line every day in distanced lance and have to worry about whether those here in washington can effectively support them. we are down to the wire. in these next few days, congress needs to make the right decision and to avoid the fiscal disaster that awaits us. my hope is they will do the right thing and that we will achieve a bipartisan consensus on deficit reduction and that trajectory of defense spending in the future. otherwise, we will weaken in this nation in the minds of our allies, partners, and our potential adversaries.
and undermine the work and sacrifice is that our troops are making every single day. it is easy to get cynical and frustrated. after 40 years, i know my level of cynicism and frustration but my confidence and my hope for the future is restored every time i have the opportunity to visit with our troops on the front lines as i did last week. in them i see the spirit of public service that has kept this country strong for more than two centuries, which has helped us to overcome every period of crisis and diversity in our history. that spirit of public service is also evidence that this monument to democracy, the national press club, journalists who commit
themselves to pursuing the truth and telling the everyday stories of american people, our public servants in their own right. my last trip, i was honored to be accompanied by an award winning radio reporter for cbs news. three years ago, suffered a terrible injury from an ied attack while covering the war in afghanistan. it was truly an emotional experience to be with her when she returned back to afghanistan for the first time after that injury. she put her own life at risk to tell the story of that war. in her and so many other war correspondents, we see the highest ideal of democracy. we will soon unveil -- unveiled a new exhibit outside the pentagon press briefing room to
honor those journalists who have died in the line of duty in the last decade of war. alongside the more than 6000 american service members who would pay the ultimate -- sacrificed on september 11, the journalists died to preserve democracy. they are heroes, all of them, and i know they will remain for ever in our hearts and minds as we continue the hard work of fighting to build a better and safer and more secure future for our children and the united states of america. thank you very much. [applause] >> what is your honest position on the attacks of september 11 this year? >> the benghazi attacks, i
believe there will be a report coming out tomorrow but a group that will present their view of what took place and where the problems were. my sense is that on that day, when you look at what took place in benghazi, that it is -- as always with these kinds of situations, there is a mix here. but clearly with regards to one of the facilities involved a direct attack on the facility. i think that there is no question that extremists were involved in those attacks. i think we were able to try to respond as best we could at the time. we have learned a lot and will continue to learn a lot from that incident.
i think it is very important for us. an area where we can respond and respond quickly to make sure that does not happen again. >> have you seen the benghazi arb and the use support the referral of mike vickers? and leaking info to "zero dark thirty" producers? >> i will not comment on that at this time. what was the other question? no, i have not. >> one of the proposed cutbacks west to do away with the service secretary. is this being given serious consideration and if not, why not? >> we obviously continue to look at areas where we can achieve
efficiencies at the department of defense. there is no question there is duplication. there are clearly areas where we can provide greater efficiencies. we were able, bob gates before me begin that effort. we have added about $60 billion on top of that in terms of further efficiencies. we will continue to review where greater efficiencies can be achieved. i ask that question when i first became secretary. what is the role of the service secretary visa be the service chief? the reality is that there is an important role for them. they are civilians. civilians are involved in providing policy in their areas. the also have to negotiate a lot of the politics.
so there is an important role for them to play in terms of their particular service. having said that, there are a lot of other places where we can achieve savings in the pentagon and we will. >> at the defense department deals with downsizing services, have you considered cuts to the number of flight in general officers? >> i think that is part and parcel. as you do force reduction, we will be reducing the structure and i think as that happens, they have to review not just the reductions in our troops but also the reductions in terms of the command structure as well. this should be part of the review process as we try to
achieve savings. >> have you considered making cuts to your staff? [laughter] >> hell yes. [laughter] i think -- i don't think there should be anything that is sacrosanct will have to face the kind of budget constrictions be faced. i cut almost half a trillion dollars from the defense budget, the largest number we have cut from the defense budget in the time i worked on budgets. i have been working on budgets for 40 years. to achieve those things, we have to look at every area. one is efficiency. you can get some significant savings in a department that large in cutbacks of unnecessary personnel.
no. 3, procurement reforms. we have a whole area of procurement reforms. the fact is we built weapons systems that continue to be delayed, continue to have cost escalation and added to. the result is by the time these things come out, they have lost their usage because you already gone on to a new technology. we need to strengthen our procurement practices, and we have. we also got rid of the web positioned as not needed. the last area of compensation at the defense department has grown by 80%. i have a health care bill of $50 billion. i cannot do justice for everything i have to maintain in terms of readiness. everything has to be looked at
if you are serious about trying to achieve the kind of savings we need to achieve to address the budget deficit. >> there are many wounded warriors and our medical system today and the number is growing. what is being done to ensure adequate level of funding remains? " i have three guidelines when i looked at having to cut billions of dollars. we have to maintain the strongest military in the world. we cannot hollow out of the force. we cannot just crept -- cut across the board. we have to maintain faith with those that have been deployed time and time again. we will achieve savings looking at retirement programs. the benefits we have promised those who served, those that have been wounded, i think we need to stand by. so there are no cuts in the programs that serve our wounded
warriors. [applause] >> drones are becoming a vital part in warfare. do we have adequate defense against an attack? >> when i talked about unmanned systems, the fact is they are increasing. within the united states, it is one of the leaders in terms of using drone capability and has served as a very well, particularly at the end of the fight against terrorism. we do have to keep track of other countries that decide to get into the business. and they are. iran, other countries in the middle east are also beginning to develop the capability. we have got to be able, as they
do, to be able to track where those uad's are and take steps to ensure that we can do everything possible to try to make sure they are not capable of surveiling what they are after. that requires a lot of technology and development but it is an area we are focused on to protect ourselves in the future. >> under what conditions do you anticipate further u.s. involvement in syria beyond enforcing the no-fly zone? >> the effort has been an international effort to try to bring as much pressure on syria to get a saw to step down. our primary effort has been dedicated to three areas. number one, try to provide humanitarian relief to the large number of refugees in turkey and
jordan. we are providing significant humanitarian relief to try to assist those who have tried to escape the terrible tragedy in syria. secondly, try to maintain control over the cbw cites and monitor them to ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands. working with other countries in the region, we are making an effort to monitor the situation and to ensure that does not happen. as a result of that monitoring, we were able to issue a clear warning to syria not to take the step to make use of any of the cbw or there would be serious consequences. we still stand by that statement. thirdly, we are helping the opposition. not providing legal assistance but we are providing nonlethal help to the opposition to try to develop their capabilities so that in the event that assad
does come down, we will have identified those leaders and provide for a smooth political transition. this will not be easy. it requires a strong international effort to ensure this is headed in the right direction. it would be helpful if russia would participate in the effort to try to ensure there is a smooth political transition. >> the latest report to congress on afghanistan says in search of a tax increase slightly this year at a time when the u.s. still had 20,000 troops on the ground. how can security get better in this afghanistan as those troops leave? >> the reality is that in the time included there, there was a slight increase but the overall numbers, if you look at the entire year, the level of violence is down by almost 60% in kabul and in other populated
areas. the violence levels are down. the fact is that the afghan army, the afghan police have got a much better at providing security in those areas we have transitioned to. everyone of those major populated areas that have been transitioned is now being secured by the afghan army and police. that is the hope for the future. building up that force is a key for our ability to succeed in this mission for the future. we will continue. the taliban is resilience. they will continue to try to conduct attacks. they will continue to do ied attacks and high-profile assassinations. they will continue to do what they can to draw attention to their efforts but overall, they are losers. they have not been able to regain any territory they have lost and we continue to put pressure on them through both
the afghans and the u.s. presence there. i think that has been the significant turning point in 2011, for the first time we saw the transition working, the afghan army able to do its job, and violence going down. >> as a former head of the cia, please explain why colonel petraeus was forced to resign rather than a lesser punishment? >> you have got to be kidding me. [laughter] in this town with that kind of e-mail, do you think he could've survived as director of the cia? i do not think so. >> the pentagon -- why hasn't the pentagon taken any steps
since this book went on sale in september? >> you know, i think the seals have a commitment. if they're going to write a book, they need to pass it by the pentagon. they did not do that. that violate an oath that they took when they became a seal. as for the other author, i'm not sure what that was. >> israeli leaders said they may act against iran if they feel like a nuclear program has gone too far. is the u.s. willing to use a financial lever to prevent a unilateral strike pushed mark -- strike? >> one thing that the u.s. and
israel have kind to an agreement on is a goal in regards to iran. neither country wants iran to develop a nuclear weapon. the united states has made that clear. israel has made that clear here you'd we continue to put our sure -- israel has made that clear. we continue to put pressure on iran. we continue to put diplomatic sanctions on iran and penalize its efforts to develop a nuclear capability. they and the result of that is to push them to the negotiation table and try to solve issues to for medically. --diplomatically. war ought to be the last option and not the first. we should exhaust every effort.
we are now in that effort. please, make no mistake, if we determine that they have made the decision to proceed with developing a nuclear weapon, the united states considers that to be of red line. >> before get to the last question, i'd like to present you with our traditional mbvp co ffee mug. and our version of the medallion coin. >> otherwise i will owe you a drink. [laughter] >> ok. we can go upstairs. >> i'm sorry, but i think it was supposed who said that he was -- he is a golden retriever.
great dog. great color. when i was at the institute, we used to bring b to work with us. when he came back -- bravo to work with us. he used to come to the office where i was the cia director. bravo sat in on almost all of the meetings involving the operations against bin laden. to this day he has not told a damn soul on what happened. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you for coming today. i would also like to thank the national press club staff for organizing today's event.
you can find more information about the national press club on our website. if you would like a copy today's et seq., please check our website at press.org. thank you. we are adjourned. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] "washingtonday's journal" a discussion on -- and francisco negron on the national school boards association. later, we will hear from scott stosser about the riser manufacturing in the us. "washington journal" is live every morning here on c-span. >> one of the things that did
surprise me a little was that among people who owned guns that i talked with, i found it often that reaction, you know, their way of thinking before and after you have a gun is very different. any law-abiding gun owner realizes when he has a gun at the feet that it is a huge responsibility. if you use this weapon he responsibly or wrongly, you can get yourself into a lot of trouble. they could cause misery or death to people you do not intend to do harm to. it makes you careful. or it should make you careful. for more stuff -- for most people, it does. i think people should pass some kind of test before they get a license.
you do not always have to. >> former new york times editor reg whitney on the history of gun ownership and gun control in america from living with guns, for the second amendment. part of four days of non-fiction books and authors on c-span t2. >> leaders of the house and senate armed services committees finish the negotiations on the defense programs bill or the fiscal year 2013. that package includes a pay raise for military members and places of when your restrictions -- on ee year restrictions. the house is expected to pick it up on thursday.
>> good afternoon, everybody. we expect most if not all of our colleagues to sign this bill. the bill authorizes $633 13llion in fiscal year 20 yea defense. we have successfully completed a conference report. hopefully we will get it passed. some of the matters which have been of great interest in the media i will comment on briefly and then turn it over to german mccain. -- chairman mccain.
it has come upon us to put sanctions on iran. this changes -- the sanctions are very strong. we broaden the exceptions that would be allowed for the sanctions. we broaden the application of the distinctions two additional persons and sectors in iran. they designate the people in the shipping areas in iran as entities of proliferation and concerned. we did not broaden the exceptions that are viewable to the administration. however, what we did do at the request is to increase some of the time that is available to them implement this legislation . i will not go into the details on that. we give them additional time as they requested. we also authorized the one point seven percent across the
board pay raise for all members -- 1.7% across the board pay raise for all members. we do not allow the increase in the copayment, which was requested. we have a more modest increase in the co-payment. i will go into the details on that if you wish. it is significantly more modest than what the administration requested. also, the energy sector. we did not include the energy -- that would have prohibited 2013 funding for the production and purchase of alternative fuel. however, what we did do is we limited the gog this goal 2013 defense production funding for the construction of a biofuel refinery.
we delayed that funding or limited the funding to the point where the dog receives contributions from the apartment of energy and agriculture for the same purpose. we do not limit the phase one of the project, which involves the business plan and the modeling for such a facility. it is under the construction funding were read with that restriction on it to make sure the department of energy comes across their share as well as the department of agriculture. on air force structure, we adopted a commission for the structure of the air force for future changes that they are considering. in terms of the fiscal 2013 air force structured changes, there
was an alternative structure that was proposed by the air force on november 2. we adopted that with a significant change. this is not the original proposal, which was rejected. there is an alternative they came up with after we rejected the first proposal that they made. we adopted that with the provision that we added in 32 aircraft. c-27 and or c130. this is above the number proposed by the secretary. we did that in order to provide sufficient aircraft to meet the army's fixed wing, time sensitive requirements. we left some room for the air force to select between c-27's fixed130's for those 32
.ing aircraft'ss the report does not mandate the deployment of the missile defense. we require the department of defense to evaluate three sites. there is no operational plan required. this is again not an operational plan. it is an earlier part of the whole process. i will not go into afghanistan, unless there is a question on that. i talked about iran's sanctions. on the detainee language, i think that is important. we can hand you the language. we have copies of the language. i will simply read it.
the language on the senate bill was dropped. some of the language from the house bill was dropped. this is what we ended up with total. nothing in the authorization for use of military force or the national defense authorization for fiscal year 2012 -- last year's bill -- shall be construed to deny the availability or deny any constitutional right in a court by or under article three of the constitution to any person inside the united states who would be entitled to the availability of such rights in the absence of such laws. that is it. if you are interested, we have copies of that, which we can hand out. i will not interpret that any further unless you ask me during question period.
i will turn it over now to the germachairman. >> he has in it outstanding job outlining th bi. it has been a real pleasure working with everyone. one of the things the senator mentioned, the as is the 51st year in a row -- this is the 51st year in a row. it will go to the senate for final passage and then to the president. in one of our meetings, the chairman mentioned that he has been married 51 years. i am glad that we are able to get this done. i've only been married 50 years. i would have hated us not get the 51st year of this bill.
the ability and opportunity to serve on this committee, to represent our soldiers, sailors, marines is a reason why we work together in a bipartisan way to accomplish this bill. we all know republicans, democrats, senate, house members -- we have the responsibility to help those who are out there hitting their lives on the line for us and our allies and protecting our interests around the world. it is a great joy to work for them realizing it is important at the end of the day that we do the eggs that they need to carry out their missions -- -things that they need to carry out their missions. i look forward to getting the final bill passed into the president's desk.
thank you, mr. chairman. >> i want to thank my colleagues who are here. i've had the honor of working with for quarter of a century and congressman smith. the days of partisanship and gridlock and the fiscal cliff, we were able to do the country's work are the men and women who are serving our country and our nation owes he security. i am proud to -- our nation's security. i am proud to serve with them. on ira , we know sanctions that i've been continues unabated on a path to acquisition of -- iran continues unabated on a path to acquisition of nuclear weapons. we do not have any other choice
at this time. i think this is important. i hope that we have met most of the administration owes the objections. -- the administration's objections. we do require reports about serious. -- syria. what are the options that the united states has in the bloodletting and massacre now of over 40,000 people massacred in syria? this is no declaration of war, but it does inform congress who may have to make tough decisions in the future as to the options that will be available to the united states of america. on the detainee issue, we basically said the authorization for the use of the bill
restricts or denies a person's existing rights or any other constitutional right because of this tragedy in benghazi, we have authorized an additional 1000 marine corps personnel assigned to the marine corps in the security group. there are other embassies and consulates around the world that need this marine presence, which we have known and it has been shown are a real deterrence to attack that may be contemplated on our facilities. on cyber security, we have made progress, including businesses that do business with the department of defense.
they are working on cyber attacks that may have taken place. finally, we need to do more in the area -- we have the latest example of an air force program costing $1 billion that had to be abandoned. the $800 million costs -- we have provisions that will try to prove that. the culture in the pentagon has got to change. we are looking at significant reductions in defense spending no matter what happens to sequestration. we in congress and the pentagon is going to have to adjust to it. >> thank you. i want to echo my colleagues comments. i appreciate working in a bipartisan environment. it can in fact be done. the house and senate armed services committees proved that.
it is an important set of issues. we make sure that our troops have the support. we have the pay raise in the bill, as well as a lot of other provisions to make sure troops get the support that they need. other than that, i agree with the comments on the iran sanctions. they have done a good job of outlining what is on the bill -- in the bill. we do have significant legislation that has our satellite loss. it would allow us to compete better internationally. international security is critical. we have lost in norma's market share in the last 15 years -- in norma's market share in the last 15 years -- enormous market share in the last 15 years.
this is a national security argument. at the u.s. ceases to be the leader in the critical technology we need, we are less safe. i think this is an important step in the right direction. i think my colleagues for their help on that and for their help on this bill. this is not exactly as i would have written it, but that is the nature of the legislative process. we come together and bridge gaps where there are differences. this is our 51st year for passing a bill. >> we have had a great debate in the senate on how to increase cybersecurity. what happens when companies
here have their information and networks penetrated? we made progress in this bill in one major area, and that is we have defense contractors that have classified information. we are paying those defense contractors to put together a system where those defense contractors will be required to report to the department of defense for their systems have been breached, this is significant to procesgress. it is an area where we have not made significant progress. i now turn it over to you. >> what is the status with the missile program? did you kill it?
did you endorse the multiyear procurement for positions for the boeing ch-47 and the destroyer summer shane -- submarine? >> we did not provide funding. four different systems on multi- years. >> [inaudible] >> did you approve multi-years? >> is anything from the house bill -- >> which permission? >> [indiscernible] >> the same-sex marriages are
permitted where they are legal under the law of the place where it took place. >> there was language later added to that. >> wherever it is permitted in the state. the racetrack that -- can we st rike that? >> there is modified language still in the bill. basically, you can believe what you believe and not be punished for it, but if your actions based on those beliefs are counter to justice, that can be held against you. but it cannot be punished solely for your beliefs. we modify that language and struck that out. >> there able to observe their
faith. it does conduct which we are going after -- it is conduct which we are after enough to beliefs. yes. >> [indiscernible] >> we do not pick them. to would be on the east coast. it would up to the department of defense. -- two would be on the east coast. it would be up to the department of defense. >> was an advisory panel established? if so, how'd did that come about? >> on the nuclear side, we have an advisory panel. anyone know back here? we have an advisory panel.
we will get you details. we have a panel. >> there were some executive pay for defense contractors. how did you resolve that? >> from my perspective, we did not reduce the cap. i wish we had. we did it in the senate, but that was one of the things that had to be compromised. yes. >> on the alignment, it was said to be a positive to have civilian projects. that has also been endorsed. >> we're not quite ready reyet terms of the overall planning to authorize funds. what we did authorize on the
facility side where we know whether or not we move additional marines to walmart not, we will need additional infrastructure -- to guam or not, we will need additional infrastructure. yes. >> the white house has put a veto on the bill. does it will satisfy the white house? >> i didn't see anything in the bill that would give the white house concerned. last-minute conversations. there is nothing in here that would cause the white house concerned. we did not attempt to change or limit the right of her since inside the united -- the right of persons inside the united states. we did not do that laster and we are not doing that this year. -- we did not do that last year
and we are not doing that this year. >> one of the things the senate bill did was the implementation of the agents overseas. is that in the bill? >> do you want to comment on that? >> yes, we did. >> you mentioned some of the programs in the bill. can you address whether you are targeting specific row grahams? >> we had a bill for years ago that has been -- four years ago that shows programs saving money. there are still major problems. it requires greater oversight on our part and greater scrutiny and greater auditing. i had to be honest with you -- when our and then deputy secretary for acquisitions said
we have a culture of problems in the pentagon, we still have that problem even though they have made significant changes. i conduct requirements. there has -- we have tightened requirements. there needs to be different mindset. that has been shown in the programs. i have to give them some cut it. -- credit. >> you get the pentagon credit for controlling costs. which programs can you highlight? >> the summary and has come in under costs. -- submarine has come in under costs. the new tanker is under costs. the costs for another vehicle is coming down. there are three or four major
programs we are seeking costs reduction and under costs. slightly, but still some improvements. when last question. -- one last question. >> what about the biofuels? >> in terms of a facility, i will try to be as precise as i can. in terms of the building or the construction of a facility -- of ee you go --we you gther ey limit the funding of the construction of a biofuel refinery and the fiscal year for 213 budget only until -- 2013
budget only until the dod gets contributions from the department of energy and agriculture. second, there's something 1 which is thee 2 modeling phase. or we limit fy-12. that is about as clearly as i can stated. >> this is what was agreed to when they put together a deal for a refinery in the first place. we did not create this on our own. this was the original plan that was put forward by the administration. the language in the bill says that they need to honor that plan. dod cannot end up footing the whole bill. >> that was the original plan.
that was the plan. we are saying on that the department of defense is not going to put up that dirt until the other departments put up their thirds as well. -- the third until the other departments put up their thirds as well. thank you, everyone. >> tomorrow, credit report mistakes. watch live tomorrow on the senate to banking subcommittee on financial institutions. and deputy secretary of state will testify about the september 11 attacks and the u.s. mission and benghazi, libya. you can watch that on c-span 3. congress could take up legislation next year to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, which expired in 2004.
we spoke about gun laws on "washington journal." this is about 40 minutes. host: joining us from new york city this morning, mr. fund. i just want to begin, if we could, actually, with the front page of "the washington post." in the news that president obama is looking at proposals on guns. obama asked his cabinet members for ideas to curb violence. what do you make of that? guest: well, we've been this way before. in 1994, president clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law. it expired in 2004. so we have 10 years of experience of what that ban did. and frankly, a university of pennsylvania study looked at all of that said that while there was some slight decrease in the use of assault weapons, it did nothing for overall gun
violence. assault weapons, semi-automatics are used between 2% and 8% of crimes and it said the gun ban did nothing to reduce the overall level of gun violence in this country. look, i mean, this is a very tragic situation. and it's a very emotional one. it's at least an emotional issue as abortion or the death penalty. and emotions run high here. and we have a very deeply divided country. we have a large chunk of the country that wants to focus on the instrument for these evil deeds. the gun. and other people who want to focus on the criminally insane or the criminal minds that are behind these horrific incidents. and i think we have to look at both sides of that coin. i think we have to look both at the gun issue but we also have to look at the mental health issue. and the extent to which gun control laws are either effective or not effective. host: the "new york times" this morning editorial page, the gun challenge.
reason to hope after the newtown rampage. and they write this. in fact, poll after poll has that nra members themselves are not opposed to measures like congressional background checks on gun sellers and gun fires. what do you make of that idea, that finding some sort of compromise between the two sides? guest: well, the one thing that i think is something that's very much on the debating table is the gun show loophole. i mean, if you're going to have background checks, it seems to me that it is legislate to legitimate the fact that you sell a gun at a gun show, you should at least have a background check as you would at the gun store. but i don't think that's what the main debate is going to be about. that's not the senators were about. they're talking about returning to the assaults weapons ban that we had.
that's old ground and i'll be honest with you. you know, the cities that have the toughest gun control laws in the country -- places like chicago are horrific places filled with violence, filled with murders that are escalating. so i think it's too simplistic an approach. we have to look at the mental health laws. you know, connecticut had the fifth strictest gun control laws of the country. 44 states had looser -- tougher looser gun control laws. 44 states. at the same time, connecticut was one of only six states, six states, that didn't have an assisted patient treatment program, which says that if you're showing real signs of being endangered to yourself or to the community, the state can temporarily take you under custody and force you to take your medication. look, the extremely mentally ill are no more dangerous in the community than anyone else if they take their medication.
but if you don't take your medication, you can have -- could have incidents like this and if you're not treated, you could have incidents like this. i think connecticut had a bill before the legislature last april by various doctors that said we need to be one of the states that allows involuntary medication and treatment. and it was rejected by the state because of privacy considerations. i think connecticut can't do much more to toughen its gun laws. it has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. it could look at the mentally health laws which are inadvocate to the other states that had such laws. host: this is the "baltimore sun" this morning with the graphic of the bushmaster a.r.15 rifle which was the primary weapon used in the sandy hook elementary school massacre. the ones on the rifle, the magazine, the ones on the rifle used in the shooting had a 30- round capacity. users of the rifle can change the barrel, stock, magazine, suggested retail price, around
$1,200 to $1,400. it's military use. some are in the u.s. it was founded in 1973 and bought by a capital management in 2006, headquartered in madison, north carolina, manufacturing in new york. is this kind of gun, do you think, john fund, ok to have outside of military use and by police departments? guest: well, again, we had an assault weapons ban in 1994 and 2004. there are a whole bunch of existing guns out there. one of the unfortunate facts and i wish that wasn't the case, we had over 230 million privately owned firearms in this country already existing. millions of those are these semi-automatic weapons.
banning them doesn't mean they go away. it means they go into the criminal underground market. you can steal one. you can buy one on the street. unfortunately, i know places in los angeles in california where i'm from where you can probably find one in the street corner within 15 minutes. so again, what may make us feel good may not be the most efficacious things we can do to prevent future tragedy. if we don't have 230 million privately owned guns in the country, we won't have this but we do. we do have a lot of people who have mental health problems who should have those problems addressed. we shouldn't be institutionalizing as many people as we are putting them on the streets. one third of homeless people on the streets are mentally ill. 2/3 of people on the streets are women. this is a tragedy and we probably have to have connecticut join the other
states that have involuntary treatment laws that are not enforced very much. so yes, we should look at everything, but we should look at what has worked in the past and what hasn't worked in the past. getting people their medication, enforcing them, if necessary to take it does help and we should be sensitive to privacy concerns. we had an assault weapons banned for 10 years. as the study concluded, it did nothing to eliminate the level of gun violence. host: you write in a piece online, the facts about mass shooting. but you also talk about gun free zone. what point are you making here? guest: well, one of the responses that we've had in recent years to these horrific crimes has been to say we should try to make ourselves safe by making gun-free zone. that means no one, even those who are lele allowed to carry a weapon, we say it's illegal to
carry your gun even if you're an honest law-abiding citizen. well, i don't know if that's worked as well as we hoped. believe it or not, since 1950, which is covers about 60 of these mass killings by deranged people. since 1950, with the exception of the gabrielle giffords shooting in tucson last year and when my brother was deputy police in tucson, he's familiar with that case, with the exception of that case, every single mass killing has taken place at a gun-free zone where private citizens were not allowed to carry their weapons so clearly, saying a school should be gun-free, saying a shopping mall should be gun-free doesn't solve the problem. the aurora batman killer was obviously obsessed with batman. there were a whole bunch of theaters around his home that were showing that film. he didn't pick the closest one.
he didn't pick the one closest to a freeway exit. he picked the only one in denver that had posted a sign in denver saying it is against the law as our rights of the private property owner to carry a gun here in this theater. every other theater allowed concealed carried guns into the theater. now, i have to tell you, i have no idea if the killer knew about that but there was a large sign there and he picked the one theater where he could be certain that if people were obeying the law, they wouldn't have a gun there who could stop him. and we've seen examples time and time again, pearl river, tennessee, the new life church in oregon, the lady in texas, where people have stopped the killer either in mid may hem by having a gun of their own, either a gun that was in a parked car or a gun that was in their person. i'm not saying that's the solution for everything but declaring a gun-free zone
doesn't mean that you have a gun-free violence. that brave principal who tried to stop him, i admired her courage but it wasn't going to stop matters. she just got killed. i'm not saying she could have stopped him but making sure everyone in that school was unarmed, obviously that didn't help here. host: so we should arm school officials? guest: well, the police chief of st. louis has said that we should put that on the table. i'm not saying we should arm police officials but let's at least say that just like pilots. you know, pilots can be armed. we had a long battle about that. should pilots be able to carry weapons on a plane that's pressurized where you could do all kinds of damage to the plane's fuselage? and we agree that pilots should have the right to carry a weapon on the plane. well, if that's the case, maybe we should at least consider
allowing some people at the school to have the option of having, if they that's have a concealed permit to keep the gun at the school. now, we can control that. we can limit who it applies to we could make it optional, but at least the killers, and by the way, the killer as crazy as they are, plan these operations. they know everything about the area that they know the may him in. -- mayhem in. maybe they know someone at the school or the shopping mall you've gun and might be able to stop them. host: there's a column this morning that the killer's mother had access to gun. he was a gun enthusiast. that didn't help her, though. guest: no. and she obviously did not lock the weapons up and someone should have locked them up. the one thing that i think you have a responsibility to do is if you own guns, you keep them locked up. you always keep them locked up, not because of children, it's because people who break into the house could do with them.
and at least locking them up slows down the potential burglar. so yes, i believe there's an issue of personal responsibility here. she clearly was not acting within her personal responsibility. she was not acting within her personal responsibility. she had a responsibility not to take your kid out of the 10th grade and leave him at home for four years but to take him to seek treatment. he stayed at home and brooded. god only knows what demons affe cted him. host: steve from new jersey, welcome to the conversation. caller: thank you for c-span. my suggestion is twofold. there should be a trigger lock where the lock prevents the trigger from being fired. it should be an expensive one.
not the kind that doesn't work properly but a certified trigger lock. each owner of a gun every two or three years should meet with a psychiatrist or psychologist which would certify that the owner understands the importance of the trigger lock and has to understand that it to be on every time the owner is not using the gun. host: john fund? guest: having a psychiatrist or psychologist lecture on the importance of a trigger lock may not be the right area for their expertise.
it's probably the law enforcement who can send a more effective message and psychologists. i am not an expert on trigger locks. host: california, sarah, you are on the air. caller: good morning. that school was my elementary school and my sisters were all stunned. i do not believe that having guns in schools is going to make that big of a difference. during world war ii, the country call for citizens to help train the troops with dogs and it was a successful thing.
i think we need to look at putting trained police in the -- trained police dogs in the schools with trained handlers for the security. people can be fooled by somebody and identification doesn't mean anything at all. but a dog knows instantly. all the police in germany had trained dogs on the street. there were no robberies or assaults because people know that the dog would get them. the security is not working. children and adults need to be protected. it would be safer to have trained dogs in every school and the malls and big theater complexes. host: we got your points. john fund.
guest: i am not sure it would be less expensive to have a handle and a dog. i grew up much of my life in europe. i understand they have strict gun control laws there. the top three in terms of fatalities until friday were in britain and germany. those were often used with assault weapons. people can get access to these weapons. if you are a criminal or criminally insane, you do not care about the law. host: this comes from twitter. there were some graphics this morning from "the washington post."
the ban on assault weapons includes massachusetts, maryland, new york, and hawaii. 30 states require -- every port of the mental health of buyers -- require a report of the mental health of buyers. what do you make of the mental health requirements and awaiting periods? what about tightening those laws? guest: i think they will be on the table. there is probably a loophole in the system. on the concealed carry issue -- i do not own a gun.
most people who have concealed carry gun permits use them responsibly. illinois is the 50th state. as a percentage of the population, the police officers who are trained are convicted of firearms violations at the same rate as the private citizens who carry concealed weapons and have permits. i do not think it is more unsafe to have private citizens protect us then to have the police protect us if the police cannot get their act in time. it doesn't take more than five minutes to shoot 20 people. you cannot get the police there
in time. is somebody having a gun in a parked car could save lives because somebody could go out and got a gun and prevented the killer from proceeding further. this will not solve everything. have we made our mental health laws too loose? have we made gun free zones too extreme so we cannot possibly have a weapon? host: we have this tweet from judi bee. the second amendment was written when we were using muskets and it was this physically made for militia. guest: well, that may be true.
the supreme court has ruled. it will not be overturned any time in our future history saying this is an individual right for self protection. the supreme court disagrees with you. the supreme court has spoken here. host: thomas in colorado. democratic caller. go ahead. caller: i am a 70-year-old gentleman and i am in the trades. you cannot get into the door unless you put in a code. if that school has a scanner for a weapon and bulletproof glass, that would have solved the problem. we have to do a better job of protecting the kids.
host: how much something like that would cost for an individual school and who should pick up the tab? caller: the people who just died and the cities that they ran are over that. it would be expensive maybe. but look at it in the long run. we have the technology now and we should use it. host: john fund? guest: we lose between 100 and 140 every year to mass shooters. it is horrific. the value of the lives are incalcuable. you want to turn every school
into a fortress, you can do that. it is very expensive. there could be other things we could do. maybe we should tighten the mental health laws first. maybe we should examine the gun- free zone law, to allow a principal to have the potential to have a weapon there. if you have a big enough automatic weapon, you can pretty much blast any door you want. host: what is your take on the headlines we are seeing about what happened in newtown, connecticut? guest: the nra realizes that tension is running high and they are the favorite whipping boy.
i'm not a gun enthusiast. this is a time for grieving. there are people that want to exploit this issue on one point or the other side. i'm happy there is a rational debate on c-span. host: sandra from alabama. republican caller. caller: i have two points. i had to go to the hospital. my potassium was down. my daughter came to check me out. i went by ambulance to another hospital. it affects your mental capabilities. they had made a mistake.
they make mistakes all the time on the mental health. i hope and pray they do not ban guns. it is not the guns. it is what the kids are taught. the video games that they play. my grandkids play them in the house. it does something to their minds. i put one child into detention because of some behavior. they wanted to put him on many medications. he just needed discipline. he made a complete turnabout. sometimes it just takes discipline and not medication. guest: sure.
laws require medication for extremely mentally ill people can be abused. we have to be careful. we can go too far. we probably institutionalize too many people. too many people on the streets are mentally ill. we need to take care of them and to convince them to take their medication. all this is about drawing lines. you can err on in this side of the line. we have made it too easy for people to not get treatment. the privacy laws are so tight that if you try to claim someone is mentally ill, you can easily is mentally ill, you can easily be sued.